Friday, February 12, 2016

FEMA Denies Aid to Individuals in County

Gov. Mary Fallin was notified Thursday that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) had denied the state's request for assistance for individuals and business owners affected by winter storm, ice, sleet and flooding that began Dec. 26.

The governor had requested individual assistance for homeowners, renters and business owners in nine counties: Sequoyah, Adair, Cherokee, Delaware, Mayes, McCurtain, Muskogee, Ottawa, and Pushmataha.

Oklahoma Emergency Management Director Albert Ashwood said his agency is exploring all possible options, including appealing the decision. In order to appeal, the state would have to provide new information or document additional damage not included in the original request.

Steve Rutherford, Sequoyah County Emergency Management director, said, “We’re very disappointed it didn’t get approved. I told them (the state) that if they appeal we’ll try to help them all we can. I don’t know if they will appeal it or not.”

The state of Oklahoma has 30 days to appeal today’s denial.

On Wednesday, FEMA approved public assistance for 41 counties that were affected by the same storm. Those counties were: Adair, Alfalfa, Beckham, Blaine, Caddo, Canadian, Cherokee, Coal, Comanche, Cotton, Craig, Custer, Delaware, Dewey, Grady, Grant, Greer, Harmon, Haskell, Hughes, Jackson, Kay, Kingfisher, Kiowa, Latimer, McCurtain, McIntosh, Major, Mayes, Muskogee, Noble, Okfuskee, Okmulgee, Osage, Pittsburg, Pushmataha, Roger Mills, Sequoyah, Tilman, Washita and Woods.

The storm resulted in power outages for more than 200,000 homes and businesses statewide, numerous road closures and dangerous travel conditions in some areas. The storm is blamed for at least four deaths and 104 injuries.

Preliminary assessments indicate 108 homes were destroyed and 99 others were damaged as a result of the storms. Additionally, an estimated $48 million in infrastructure damages and response costs have been identified in these counties.

Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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