On Monday, Gov. Mary Fallin, in partnership with the Cherokee Nation and Cherokee County, requested a U.S. Small Business Administration disaster declaration to assist those impacted by tornadoes, severe storms, and straight-line winds that occurred Nov. 30.
If approved, the governor’s request would bring SBA low-interest disaster loans for homeowners, renters, and business owners in Cherokee Nation to repair or replace any property damaged by the storm that was not covered by insurance. The loan program would also be available to assist businesses that sustained economic losses due to the storm.
Under SBA rules, counties contiguous to Cherokee County would also be eligible for assistance, including Adair, Delaware, and Sequoyah counties, where additional tornado damage was reported.
“That will help our people out immensely,” said Steve Rutherford, Sequoyah County Emergency Management Director, adding that FEMA had turned town Sequoyah County for assistance. “FEMA said there wasn’t enough damage. There’s a criteria they have to follow.”
Rutherford was still compiling damage assessments for Sequoyah County.
Damage assessments found more than 90 homes and businesses affected by the storm in Cherokee County. Of those, 58 homes and businesses with major damage were identified as uninsured and may be eligible for SBA’s program.
The National Weather Service in Tulsa reported the Webbers Falls and Lake Tenkiller tornadoes were on the ground for more than an hour and traveled a combined 54 miles from Muskogee County to Delaware County. At least 119 homes and businesses were affected by the storm across the five-county area.
Pam Cloud, Managing News Director
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