FEMA, Federal Partners Support Survivors of Severe Storms in Oklahoma

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Release date: 
May 22, 2013
Release Number: 
HQ-13-053

Survivors are Encouraged to Register with FEMA

WASHINGTON -- The Administration, through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) remains in close contact with emergency officials and continues to coordinate federal support to state, tribal and local officials in Oklahoma through FEMA’s National Response Coordination Center in Washington, D.C. and Regional Response Coordination Center in Denton, Texas. FEMA and its federal partners continue to provide resources to support the ongoing efforts.

Today, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and FEMA Deputy Administrator Rich Serino traveled to Moore, Oklahoma to meet with Governor Mary Fallin, U.S. Rep. Tom Cole, Mayor Glenn Lewis, Red Cross President Gail McGovern and other state and local officials to tour disaster affected areas and ensure that first responders are receiving the assistance they need in on-going response and recovery efforts to the severe weather that impacted the region. 

At the direction of President Obama, FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate traveled to Oklahoma on Tuesday and remained there today to ensure all federal resources are supporting our state, local and tribal partners in life-saving and safety operations including search and rescue.

In coordination with the state, FEMA has more than 400 personnel on the ground in Oklahoma in support of response and recovery efforts, including a liaison officer, three national Urban Search and Rescue teams, a national Incident Management Assistance Team (IMAT) and a regional IMAT to coordinate with state and local officials in support of recovery operations. Mobile Emergency Response Support (MERS) assets also are in Oklahoma to provide self-sustaining telecommunications, logistics and operations support elements. Additional teams are en route.

Individuals and business owners who sustained losses in Cleveland, Lincoln, McClain, Oklahoma, and Pottawatomie counties are encouraged to apply for assistance by registering online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or by web enabled mobile device at m.fema.gov.  Disaster assistance applicants who use TTY, should call 1-800-462-7585 directly; for those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 1-800-621-3362.

Federal activities underway today to support Oklahoma response efforts include the following: 

  • As of 3:00 p.m. today more than 1,500 disaster survivors have registered for FEMA assistance. FEMA continues to encourage disaster survivors to register for FEMA assistance.
  • FEMA implemented a pilot program for debris removal that offers communities financial incentives for the timely removal of debris and a time limited financial incentive for having a pre-incident debris management plan.
  • Three national FEMA Urban Search and Rescue Teams (Texas Task Force 1, Nebraska Task Force 1 and Tennessee Task Force 1) remain on the ground and performed search and rescue operations in Oklahoma. 
  • FEMA Mobile Emergency Response Support (MERS) assets are positioned in Oklahoma to provide self-sustaining telecommunications, logistics, and operations support elements. 
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) subject matter experts were on site at the National Coordination Center in Washington, D.C. and at the Regional Response Coordination Center in Denton, Texas. 
  • More than 160 Oklahoma National Guard Soldiers and Airmen, under the governor’s direction, conducted search operations, provided security and check point operations, and provided logistics support for the Moore tornado recovery efforts in non-federal status.
  • The U.S. Small Business Administration deployed customer service staff to the affected areas and announced low-interest federal disaster loans are now available to Oklahoma residents and business owners in the counties of Cleveland, Lincoln, McClain, Oklahoma, and Pottawatomie.
  • Three Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) are open in the affected areas to help disaster survivors register for assistance and access information to help them with their recovery. 
  • There are members of the Disaster Survivor Assistance Team (DSAT) supporting the Moore and Shawnee DRCs. Three teams were canvassing neighborhoods in Moore, north and south, to support registration intake and supporting disaster survivors.  The teams were supporting survivors who lived close to the former Briarwood elementary school that was destroyed.
  • The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) deployed 18 additional AmeriCorps members to help in the response activities.
  • Red Cross disaster teams in Oklahoma have five open shelters.  Nearly 30 emergency response vehicles were on the ground or en route to distribute food and water and five emergency aid stations were open where people can find a safe refuge, food and snacks, emotional support, health care services and information about what other help is available.
  • The Southern Baptist Convention, working with the American Red Cross, are providing two kitchens and are beginning to prepare meals today. The kitchens are able to make tens of thousands of meals a day if needed
  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced steps it is taking to support Oklahoma recovery.  USDA is inventorying unoccupied multi-family housing rental units and the USDA Rural Development notified lenders who guarantee USDA housing loans that they may offer a moratorium on mortgage payments to borrowers in the disaster area.
  • FEMA’s National Response Coordination Center in Washington, D.C., a multi-agency coordination center that provides overall coordination of the federal response to natural disasters and emergencies, and FEMA’s Region VI Response Coordination Centers (RRCC) located in Denton, Texas remains activated to coordinate any requests for federal assistance, if requested.
  • Additional resources beyond these immediate assets will also be available to support response and recovery efforts, including for affected individuals and small businesses.

The American Red Cross Safe and Well secure website provides a way for people to find information on survivors affected by the storms. 

The HHS Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSA) Disaster Distress helpline remains activated. This toll-free, multilingual, crisis support service is available 24/7 via telephone (1-800-985-5990) and SMS (text ‘TalkWithUs’ to 66746) to survivors who are experiencing emotional distress.

If you were affected by the disaster and need a place to stay, open Red Cross shelters can also be found on www.redcross.org/find-help/shelter.   

National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (National VOAD) member organizations such as American Red Cross, Salvation Army and many others continue to be heavily involved in the disaster response by providing assistance to disaster survivors.  For individuals and businesses who are interested in knowing how they can help, cash donations to their voluntary agency of choice is the preferred means of assistance.  For information on the voluntary organizations that support disaster response and recovery efforts, visit www.nvoad.org. Also, information can be found on the state’s official web portal at http://www.ok.gov/okstrong/.

For information on yesterday’s federal activities, visit fema.gov.
There are tools and resources available online to help prepare for, respond to and recover from any type of disaster. Visit www.ready.gov to learn more. The Spanish language site – listo.gov. Those with a Blackberry, Android or Apple device can download the FEMA app to access safety tips, shelter locations, and more.

FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

Last Updated: 
May 22, 2013 - 19:46