Wednesday, April 1, 2015
OKLAHOMA CITY – Governor Mary Fallin today requested a federal disaster declaration for Tulsa and Cleveland counties in the wake of deadly tornadoes that ripped through two mobile home parks near Sand Springs and another tornado that swept through Moore and heavily damaged an elementary school. The designation would provide federal assistance to individuals and businesses in the tornado-ravaged areas.
Preliminary damage assessments showed 1,047 homes and businesses were damaged in the tornadoes, severe storms, straight-line winds and flooding that occurred March 25 in Cleveland and Tulsa counties. Four fatalities are attributed to the storms, according to the Oklahoma State Medical Examiner’s Office, and 26 people suffered injuries requiring treatment at area hospitals, according to the Oklahoma State Department of Health.
“Sadly, last week’s deadly tornadoes cut four lives short,” said Fallin. “They also destroyed or severely damaged many homes and businesses. Having spoken with some of the residents near Sand Springs who lost everything as well as school officials in Moore who are faced with repairing tornado damage for the second time in less than two years, I know how important it is to do everything in our power to quickly rebuild. This disaster declaration would be an important first step in helping residents and businesses get back on their feet.”
In Tulsa County, just west of Sand Springs, residents of the River Oaks and Riverside mobile home parks were hit hard by a tornado with 52 homes being destroyed and another seven sustaining major damage. Most of the Tulsa County residents were renters and had no insurance. One person was killed in the River Oaks Mobile Home Park.
Another tornado struck the city of Moore in Cleveland County, damaging Southgate Elementary School and several homes. The community sustained significant tornado damage for the fourth time in the last 15 years. For many Moore residents, the tornado hit as they were still recovering from the deadly May 2013 tornado.
If the governor’s 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.
If the disaster declaration is granted, additional counties could later be added.