Seventeen Oklahoma counties that were hit hard by tornadoes and flooding during a series of severe storms in May 2007 have been approved for federal disaster assistance, Gov. Brad Henry said.
President Bush declared that a major disaster existed in the state and ordered federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the areas affected, according to a statement from the White House.
Preliminary damage estimates indicate storms that swept across the state May 4-11 caused $4.8 million in damage to municipalities, counties and rural electric systems, according to the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management.
Counties approved for public assistance are: Atoka, Beckham, Blaine, Caddo, Comanche, Dewey, Ellis, Greer, Kay, Kiowa, Lincoln, Noble, Nowata, Okfuskee, Pottawatomie, Roger Mills and Seminole. The counties are eligible to receive federal assistance for the cost of their storm response and recovery, Henry said.
Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator R. David Paulison named Philip E. Parr as the federal coordinating officer for federal recovery operations in the affected area, according to the statement.
Eight other counties that were included in the state’s disaster declaration request were not approved. The counties are Bryan, Canadian, Garfield, Grady, Hughes, Logan, McIntosh and Woodward.
Although the counties did not meet the threshold for financial assistance, emergency management officials said they believe more damage will be identified in ongoing damage assessments.
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