Oklahoma City - Gov. Brad Henry today asked President Bush to approve a major disaster declaration to help Oklahomans impacted by recent storms and flooding.

The request seeks federal assistance for individuals in four of the hardest hit counties: Comanche, Ottawa, Pottawatomie and Washington. More than 800 homes have been damaged by flood waters in those counties since Memorial Day weekend.

As additional damage assessments are completed, more counties may be added to the request.

“Many Oklahomans will face staggering costs as they clean up and attempt to recover from the flooding, Henry said. “State and local authorities are doing everything they can to help those citizens, but we need a major disaster declaration from the White House to give them the hand they need to get back on their feet.

“I will be working with the Oklahoma congressional delegation and others to ensure that our request is acted upon in a timely manner. The sooner we can get federal help to Oklahomans, the better.

If the White House approves Henry's request, Oklahomans who suffered flood damage would be eligible for assistance for housing repairs or temporary housing and U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) low-interest loans for individuals and businesses.

Individual assistance, if approved, could also provide residents with funding to repair or replace damaged property, disaster unemployment assistance, and grants for serious needs and necessary disaster expenses not met by other programs.

Assessment teams are continuing to survey public infrastructure throughout the state. The governor will officially seek public assistance after a sufficient number of surveys are completed. In many cases, flood waters are preventing assessment teams from examining damage.

“I will push for public assistance as well, but until floodwaters recede a bit more, we can't get a good damage estimate on the many submerged roads and bridges. This has been a historic flood in many communities, and they will need all the help they can get when it comes to rebuilding their public infrastructures, said the governor.

Gov. Henry reiterated that the state is continuing to send state resources into flood areas and that all 77 Oklahoma counties remain under a State of Emergency he declared in May. That executive order provided a formal mechanism for local governments to seek reimbursement for recovery costs through the state's disaster public assistance program as conditions warrant.

Assessment teams are continuing to survey public infrastructure throughout the state. The governor will officially seek public assistance after a sufficient number of surveys are completed. In many cases, flood waters are preventing assessment teams from examining damage.

“I will push for public assistance as well, but until floodwaters recede a bit more, we can't get a good damage estimate on the many submerged roads and bridges. This has been a historic flood in many communities, and they will need all the help they can get when it comes to rebuilding their public infrastructures, said the governor.

Gov. Henry reiterated that the state is continuing to send state resources into flood areas and that all 77 Oklahoma counties remain under a State of Emergency he declared in May. That executive order provided a formal mechanism for local governments to seek reimbursement for recovery costs through the state's disaster public assistance program as conditions warrant.