By Chris Day
STILLWATER, Okla. —
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has opened mobile registration units in Carney and Shawnee to help survivors of May 19 tornadoes in Lincoln and Pottawatomie counties, FEMA Public Information Officer Alan Cross said Saturday.
FEMA’s mobile registration unit is stationed at Carney High School, 204 S. Carney St., for Lincoln County tornado victims.
In Pottawatomie County, tornado victims can register at the Heart of Oklahoma Expo Center, 1700 W. Independence, Shawnee.
Both units are open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week, Cross said.
President Barack Obama has issued a federal disaster declaration for Cleveland, Lincoln, McClain, Oklahoma and Pottawatomie counties. It makes individuals and business owners eligible for federal assistance.
“We encourage everyone impacted by the storms and tornadoes to register as soon as possible,” Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management Executive Director Michelann Ooten said. “We want to make sure we get help as soon as possible to those who need it the most, so that they can start rebuilding and repairing their homes, lives and communities.”
Registering with FEMA is required to receive federal aid. Oklahomans should register with FEMA even if they have insurance.
Cross said applicants will be asked to provide:
• Social Security number
• Address of the damaged home or apartment
• Description of the damage
• Information about insurance coverage
• An address where they can receive mail
• Bank account and routing numbers if they want direct deposit of any financial assistance
Individuals and businesses may also register online at www.disasterassistance.gov or via smartphone at m.fema.gov. They may also call 1-800-621-3362 or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY).
Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, medical and dental expenses or funeral and burial costs.
Low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration may be available to cover losses not fully compensated by insurance or other recoveries as long as they do not duplicate benefits from other agencies or organizations.
“They have to be qualified in order to become eligible for federal assistance,” Cross said.
“I know people are going through a rough time. This may be the last thing they are thinking about, but if they get in to register as soon as they can that starts the process of recovery so much quicker for them. It’s one less thing they have to worry about.”
The Carney tornado was reported at 4:41 p.m., traveled 20 miles and dissipated at 5:24 p.m.
It was rated an EF3 on the Enhanced Fujita scale, which means it packed wind gusts of between 138 and 167 mph.
The Shawnee-area tornado was reported at 6 p.m., traveled 20 miles before dissipating at 6:50 p.m.
It was rated an EF4 with wind gusts of 168 to 198 mph.
Two deaths were attributed to Sunday’s tornadoes in the Shawnee and Carney areas, according to the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management.
Official property damage counts have not been completed for storms that occurred in Lincoln and Pottawatomie counties.