OKLAHOMA CITY — Although President Biden has declared a federal disaster in all 77 Oklahoma counties, Comanche County may not benefit from the declaration.
Gov. Kevin Stitt announced Thursday that Biden has approved his request to declare a federal disaster exists in all 77 Oklahoma counties due to the historic winter storm, clearing the way for federal aid to be directed to the state.
The federal government will provide emergency protective measures for mass care and sheltering as well as direct federal assistance to state and local agencies at 75 percent federal funding. Specifically, FEMA is authorized to identify, mobilize, and provide at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency. This may include technical assistance for water system repairs or commodities for shelters.
The declaration also provides reimbursement to state and local government entities for eligible mass care and sheltering costs including shelter facility costs, staff costs, shelter supplies and commodities, shelter security, transportation for residents to and from shelters, and Emergency Operations Center costs associated with sheltering activities.
“It’s only for shelters and warming centers that we don’t have,” said Michael Merritt, Comanche County Emergency Management Director. “They have to be official mass care and sheltering facilities and I’m not aware of any of those here in Comanche County.”
Although Comanche County may not be eligible for the funds, additional resources for farmers, ranchers and communities are available through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Livestock Indemnity Program, which provides assistance payments equal to 75 percent of average fair market value for livestock deaths in excess of normal mortality caused by adverse weather and unpreventable through good animal husbandry and management.
For 2021 livestock losses, ranchers must file a notice within 30 calendar days of when the loss is first apparent. Additional information is available on the USDA website or by contacting the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry at 405-742-1130.