President Donald Trump declared a disaster in Oklahoma on Saturday, making federal assistance available to those affected by severe storms, tornadoes and floods in Tulsa, Muskogee and Wagoner counties.
Assistance is available in many forms to individuals and business owners affected by the storms beginning May 7, including grants for temporary housing, home repairs and low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses.
Gov. Kevin Stitt announced the declaration Sunday, thanking Trump for his support and “quick action.”
“As damage assessments continue, I will request aid for all counties that suffered losses to homes or businesses, whether from flooding, tornadoes, or other severe weather,” Stitt said in a news release.
Weeks of flooding, tornadoes and severe storms left six people dead statewide, 118 injured and hundreds of homes destroyed, according to the release.
An aerial damage assessment of Tulsa, Muskogee and Wagoner counties found more than 913 homes were damaged. Of those, 517 sustained major damage and 335 were destroyed, according to the release.
The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management is working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. Small Business Administration and local emergency managers to schedule damage assessments in other affected counties as early as this week, the release states. Teams will survey damage to homes, businesses and public infrastructure such as roads, bridges and utilities.
Funding is available statewide on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures, and to state, tribal and local governments and some private nonprofit organizations in Tulsa, Muskogee and Wagoner counties for debris removal and emergency protective measures, including overtime pay for first responders.
Emergency protective measures limited to direct federal assistance will also be provided to Haskell, Kay, LeFlore, Noble, Osage, Pawnee and Sequoyah counties.
SBA loans available
for recovery, improvement projects
Businesses and private nonprofit organizations of any size can borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery, equipment, inventory and other business assets, according to a U.S. Small Business Administration news release.
SBA also offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans to help meet working capital needs for small businesses, agricultural cooperatives, businesses engaged in aquaculture, and most private nonprofit organizations. Economic injury assistance is available to businesses regardless of property damage, the release states.
Disaster loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace real estate, and homeowners and renters are eligible for up to $40,000 to repair or replace personal property.
Business owners and homeowners can also obtain additional funds to help with the cost of improvement projects to prevent the same type of disaster damage from occurring in the future.
Interest rates can be as low as 4% for businesses, 2.75% for private nonprofit organizations and 1.938% for homeowners and renters with terms up to 30 years, according to the release.
Those wishing to be considered for all forms of disaster assistance must first contact FEMA at disasterassistance.gov. When Federal-State Disaster Recovery Centers open throughout the affected areas, SBA will provide one-on-one assistance to disaster loan applicants.
Additional information and details on the location of disaster recovery centers is available by calling the SBA Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955.
Chief Photographer Tom Gilbert went up in a helicopter to show what the flooding looked like on Friday.