Oklahoma Preparing Request for Individual Assistance

December 28, 2007

About 8,500 individuals and businesses have asked the state Office of Emergency Management about assistance for damage from the recent ice storm, but no individual disaster aid has been approved yet.

The federal government has approved assistance to help local governments with infrastructure repairs and debris removal in 25 counties, mostly in a swath from southwestern and central Oklahoma through the northeastern part of the state.

A separate declaration covering individuals and businesses is pending.

Albert Ashwood, the director of the Office of Emergency Management, said Wednesday that teams were being organized to assess damage to homes and businesses. A request for individual assistance should be ready to go to the federal government as early as next week.

Ashwood’s office has shut down its telephone hot line, but people can still report damage by going online to www.oem.ok.gov and clicking on the “Oklahoma Ice Storm Damage Assessment Online Form” at the top of the home page.

If private assistance is approved, the federal government might pay for uninsured damage, such as trees falling onto roofs or burst pipes.

People who needed to hire an electrician to reattach a meter box damaged in the storm may also be able to get a reimbursement.

The storm blacked out more than 600,000 homes and businesses and many people bought generators.

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