Office of Governor Brad Henry
State of Oklahoma
State Capitol – Oklahoma City OK 73105
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – May 13. 2008
Gov. Henry Requests Federal Disaster Assistance from Pres. Bush in Aftermath of Picher Tornado
Oklahoma City – In the wake of the deadly tornado that swept through the town of Picher on May 10, Gov. Brad Henry today asked Pres. Bush to provide a federal disaster declaration for Ottawa County. The designation would provide federal assistance to individuals and businesses in the tornado-ravaged area.
“Picher is devastated, and its citizens are hurting,” Gov. Henry said.
“It is critical that they receive all eligible assistance during this challenging period. I have spoken with President Bush and Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, and both have assured me that the federal government stands ready to do what it can during this crisis.”
Seven deaths and 150 injuries are attributed to the Picher tornado. According to preliminary damage assessments conducted Monday, the storm damaged 167 homes in Ottawa County. Of those, 114 were destroyed, 30 sustained major damage and seven had minor damage.
If the request is approved, those who suffered damage will be eligible for assistance for housing repairs or temporary housing, U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) low-interest loans for individuals and businesses to repair or replace damaged property, disaster unemployment assistance, and grants for serious needs and necessary disaster expenses not met by other programs.