On the night of Wednesday, April 19 our city was hit by an EF2 tornado. As the storm approached, citizens hunkered in their cellars, covered their children and pets in closets, juggled a maelstrom of emotions and prayed that their families would be spared. When the winds and fear died down, people began to flood the streets to see what damage had been done. What followed can only be described as the best in humanity.
Neighbors went door-to-door to check on each other. They boarded off windows, tarped roofs and cleared debris from the roadways so that emergency vehicles could pass through. As our citizens did their part, community and county leaders were working all night long to close off streets and plan for what the destruction would show when the Sun came up. As we all would find out, it was immense.
Governor Stitt requested an expedited major disaster declaration on Sunday from the federal government. Aerial damage assessments conducted by FEMA found more than 2,000 homes and apartments impacted, including at least 231 that sustained major damage or were destroyed. Of those 2,000 homes impacted, 50% were uninsured and an additional 25% were underinsured. Its safe to say, our community needs help.
The United Way of Pottawatomie County started a recovery fund with 100% of the profits going towards local recovery, in particular those with unmet needs. Please donate today to help our community rebuild. Rebuilding today, restoring for tomorrow. We are #ShawneeSTRONG
News and Updates
Resources for Survivors
Disaster Recovery for Businesses
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Oklahoma Small Business Development Center can help small business owners re-establish their operations, overcome the effects of the disaster, and plan for their future. Business owners unable to visit the BRC may apply online at disasterloanassistance.sba.gov.
- For businesses and most private nonprofit organizations, SBA offers Business Physical Disaster Loans up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business assets. These loans cover losses that are not fully covered by insurance or other recoveries.
- Also available are Economic Injury Disaster Loans up to $2 million to help meet financial obligations and operating expenses that could have been met had the disaster not occurred.
Disaster Recovery for Residents
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has opened a Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) at South Central Industries, 130 N Louisa, Shawnee. For those impacted by the April 19 storm, the DRC is open as of June 1, Tuesday - Saturday, 10 am - 7 pm, closed on Sunday and Monday - to help with temporary housing expenses, - to help with temporary housing expenses, basic home repairs, or other essential disaster-related needs that are not covered by insurance. Residents unable to visit the DRC may apply online at disasterassistance.gov or call (800) 621-3362.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) also has low-interest disaster loans for homeowners and renters.
- Homeowners may apply for up to $200,000 to replace or repair their primary residence. In some cases, SBA can refinance all or part of a previous mortgage when the applicant does not have credit available elsewhere and has suffered substantial disaster damage not covered by insurance.
- Renters and homeowners may borrow up to $40,000 to replace or repair personal property - such as clothing, furniture, cars and appliances - damaged or destroyed in the disaster.
Assistance with Insurance
The Oklahoma Insurance Department is available to help with any insurance issues. A unit has been deployed to Shawnee to help with claims. Call (800) 522-0071 or visit oid.ok.gov/after for assistance.
Assistance with Legal Matters
Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma is available to assist with legal concerns including landlord/tenant issues, domestic violence issues, contractor issues, etc. Call (888) 602-8494 or visit oklahomadisasterlegalhelp.org.
State of Oklahoma Resource List
The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management has compiled a list of disaster recovery resources for citizens. Please check oklahoma.gov/oem/programs-and-services/individual-assistance.html.
Mental Health Care
Crisis Care Ministries reminds disaster survivors to reach out for assistance to the mental health crisis line at 988.
Emergency Price Stabilization Act in Effect
Oklahoma’s Emergency Price Stabilization Act prohibits a price increase of more than 10% for goods or services after a declared emergency. The Act allows the Attorney General (AG) to pursue charges against individuals or businesses that engage in price gouging. To report a complaint, call the AG’s Consumer Protection Unit at (833) 681-1895.