More than $4.5 million approved in disaster recovery

OKLAHOMA CITY – More than $4.5 million has already been approved in federal funding for debris clearance and emergency protective measures in Oklahoma following the severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds and flooding that occurred from May 18 – June 2, 2013.Of the total, $4.1 million covers eligible debris removal costs under a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Public Assistance Alternative Procedures Pilot Program. The accelerated debris removal program was initiated in Oklahoma following the devastating spring storms.Under the pilot program, debris removed within 30 days of May 18, the start of the incident period, is reimbursed at 85 percent. State and local funds will cover the remaining 15 percent of the cost-share. The program funds expenses such as debris removal and debris recycling.A fundamental element of the pilot program is the provision of financial incentives for applicants for accomplishing timely removal of debris and for developing a pre-incident debris management plan. Additional funding for debris removal costs will be forthcoming as eligible applicants continue to define debris plans and formulate costs.“Debris removal after disasters of this magnitude can be a daunting task. Oklahoma appreciates the opportunity to be part of this pilot program," said State Coordinating Officer and Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management Deputy Director Michelann Ooten.“Anytime we can test a pilot program and provide financial incentives at the same time is a win-win for all,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Sandy Coachman.Meanwhile, an additional $380,000 has been approved for Emergency Protective Measures. These are actions taken by applicants before, during, and after a disaster to save lives, protect public health and safety, and prevent damage to improved public and private property.