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Deadly tornados tore through several Oklahoma communities on May 19, 20 and 31, 2013. These are the stories of natural disaster and its aftermath, and of communities healing and recovering.

FEMA Approves More Aid, Already Tops $25 Million

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Gov. Mary Fallin says the Federal Emergency Management Agency has approved public assistance for 16 counties hit by May storms that brought tornadoes and flooding to Oklahoma.

Fallin said FEMA approved the request on Friday that she submitted Wednesday.

The storms caused an estimated $40 million in uninsured infrastructure losses, and debris removal and response costs.

FEMA says disaster assistance for the state now tops $25 million dollars.

Nearly 13,000 households in Central Oklahoma have applied for individual assistance from FEMA and the state Department of Emergency Management.

As of Thursday, recovery workers had cleared more than 517,000 cubic yards of disaster debris. That's a little more than half of the estimated 900,000 cubic yards of debris from the devastating tornadoes and flooding.

Approval means federal funding is available to help municipalities, counties, schools and rural electric cooperatives pay for infrastructure repairs, debris removal and costs associated with responding to the tornadoes, straight-line winds, flooding and severe storms that occurred between May 18 and June 2.

Counties included in the request are Atoka, Canadian, Coal, Hughes, Latimer, Nowata, Okfuskee, Okmulgee, Pittsburg, Pushmataha and Seminole. Additional aid was also granted for Cleveland, Lincoln, McClain, Oklahoma and Pottawatomie counties.  

Brian Hardzinski is from Flower Mound, Texas and a graduate of the University of Oklahoma. He began his career at KGOU as a student intern, joining KGOU full time in 2009 as Operations and Public Service Announcement Director. He began regularly hosting Morning Edition in 2014, and became the station's first Digital News Editor in 2015-16. Brian’s work at KGOU has been honored by Public Radio News Directors Incorporated (PRNDI), the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters, the Oklahoma Associated Press Broadcasters, and local and regional chapters of the Society of Professional Journalists. Brian enjoys competing in triathlons, distance running, playing tennis, and entertaining his rambunctious Boston Terrier, Bucky.
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