Sequoyah County and 14 other Oklahoma counties have been approved for money assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to repair county roads, bridges and other public structures damaged by flooding in May.
Steve Rutherford, Sequoyah County Emergency Management Director, received word Thursday that Sequoyah County is one of those approved for the FEMA money. The aid will be for public facilities. Gov. Mary Fallin announced that the federal government approved public assistance for the county for storm and flooding recovery expenses.
Rutherford worked with FEMA assessors for three weeks assessing damages to the county's roads and bridges, and the county courthouse and jail, both of which also suffered some flood and leak damage. Rutherford estimated the damages at well over $350,000. Sequoyah County Commissioners were excited by the news, he said. They must repair those county roads, at least two of which collapsed and are closed.
"All three county commissioners have major road and bridge damage," Rutherford said. "This is definitely good news."
Fallin said FEMA approved the request for aid one day after the request was submitted. Also receiving aid are Adair, Beckham, Caddo, Comanche, Creek, Garvin, Jackson, Logan, McCurtain, McIntosh, Marshall, Muskogee, Pushmataha, and Washita counties. "I appreciate the federal government's quick response to our request," Fallin said. "This will help rebuild our damaged roads and bridges as well as offset other costs associated with responding to flood and storm damage." To date, 40 counties have been approved by FEMA for public assistance and 13 counties have been approved for FEMA for individual assistance.
Individuals and business owners who have damages are encouraged to contact FEMA to report the damages. The telephone number is 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). Fallin said the damage assessments are ongoing and the state expects to add more counties to its requests for both individual and public assistance. Rutherford said he knows of several homes that were flooded and property owners who lost driveways due to flooding. Those reporting damage must report what county they live in and that the damage occurred during the May flooding and storms.
Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director
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