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Office of Governor Brad Henry
State of Oklahoma
State Capitol - Oklahoma City OK 73105


Governor Henry Seeks Presidential Disaster Declaration for Panhandle

(Oklahoma City) Gov. Brad Henry today requested a federal disaster declaration from President George W. Bush for three Oklahoma panhandle counties hit hard by winter weather. Beaver, Cimarron and Texas counties are still recovering from two storms that triggered widespread power outages, stranded residents and threatened livestock.

If approved by President Bush, public entities impacted by the Dec. 19th ice storm and Dec. 29th snow storm will receive assistance for expenses related to response and recovery efforts.

"The storms caused major damage to public infrastructure in the panhandle, and we want to give the people there every resource possible as they dig out, clean up and make repairs," said Gov. Henry. "They've been through a lot this holiday season and deserve every bit of help we can get them."

Preliminary damage estimates show nearly $6 million in damage to municipalities, counties and the local electric and telephone systems. Officials with the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management and the Federal Emergency Management Agency joined local officials in completing the damage survey.

Tri-County Electric Cooperative alone sustained more than $3.7 million in damage to its system. The storms required $881,000 in emergency protective costs, to include overtime for first responders, and left $156,000 in damage to roads and bridges. Additionally, it will cost about $1.1 million to clean up all the downed trees and other debris left by the two storms.

Since the first storm hit in late December, state and local officials have worked together to deliver emergency aid to the area. The Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, the Oklahoma National Guard, the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management and many other entities helped provide assistance to affected residents and delivered hay to livestock stranded in the fields.

"I want to thank everyone who worked long hours under very difficult conditions to help those in need. Because of their actions, both lives and property were saved, and for that they should be commended," said the governor.

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