Federal officials OK assistance in Oklahoma storms

BY MICHAEL MCNUTT Modified: February 16, 2009 at 4:40 am •  Published: February 16, 2009
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Federal officials approved disaster assistance for people in three Oklahoma counties devastated by last week’s deadly tornadoes, the governor’s office said Sunday evening.

The approval for individual assistance is for people in Carter, Logan and Oklahoma counties, the governor’s office said. The storms killed eight people in the Lone Grove area, about 90 miles south of Oklahoma City, and injured dozens of others. More than 300 homes and businesses statewide were damaged and destroyed by the twisters, according to the governor’s office.

Gov. Brad Henry asked for the disaster assistance late Friday.

"I am extremely pleased that President Obama moved quickly to deliver aid to Oklahoma storm victims,” Henry said.

The designation provides federal assistance for housing repairs or temporary housing, U.S. Small Business Administration low-interest loans for people and businesses to repair or replace damaged property, disaster unemployment assistance and grants for serious needs.

Henry said he anticipates the state also will seek public assistance once a sufficient number of damage surveys are completed. Public assistance provides aid to state and local governments for infrastructure repairs.