The State of Oklahoma has requested a disaster declaration from the federal government as the state continues to see frigid temperatures, the governor's office said Wednesday.
The request was made after a series of winter storms began on Feb. 8 which led to prolonged freezing temperatures and heavy snow in the state.
“Yesterday, President Biden pledged the federal government’s support for Oklahoma when we spoke by phone,” Gov. Kevin Stitt said in a statement. “I am now urging the president and his administration to act quickly and deliver on our request to help Oklahomans recover from this historic storm.”
Under the Stafford Act, Stitt requested an emergency declaration for direct federal assistance statewide for all 77 Oklahoma counties and Public Assistance Category B, limited to mass care and sheltering.
If approved, the declaration would allow for reimbursement to cities, counties and tribes for the costs of eligible emergency protective measures related to mass care and sheltering operations through FEMA's public assistance program. Federal resources would also be authorized to assist state and local governments as they continue to respond to the winter weather event.
“The combination of nearly two weeks of record-breaking low temperatures, heavy snow, and freezing rain has had significant impacts on communities across the state,” Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security Director Mark Gower said in a statement. “We hope the federal government will act quickly and approve Governor Stitt’s request so we can begin to help communities recover.”
Stitt can request additional federal assistance programs as more damage assessments are being completed.