|Updated: 5/22 6:15 pm
||Published: 5/22 5:21 pm
President Obama declared a federal disaster in several Oklahoma counties after a series of tornadoes.
That declaration was the first big step in getting funding help from the federal government. It gives local and state authorities power to do what they need to do to start the recovery process without having to worry about having funds to pay for it up front.
“The numbers of this event are becoming even more staggering: 33,000 people affected, 12 to 13,000 homes impacted, property damages 1.5 to 2 billion dollars,” said Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett.
"On behalf of President Obama and on behalf of FEMA, we will be here to stay until this recovery is complete. So, you have our commitment on that," said Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.
The first step in that commitment is getting rid of all this debris.
"To assist with debris removal, the federal government will assume 85% of the cost of debris removal for the first 30 days, 80% for the succeeding 60 days," said Napolitano.
Congressman Tom Cole, who lives in and represents Moore, says he received a call from President Obama shortly after the tornado hit.
"Said 'look, anything, you need anything and I want you to call directly.' And that was an incredibly generous and gracious gesture," said Cole.
Cole said he's gotten more supportive text messages from federal elected officials than in his entire tenure in Congress before this.
"The Speaker of the House, my friend John Boehner, also made it very clear that we're going to be working in a very bipartisan way," said Cole.
"I have no doubt that we'll have a tremendous long-term federal response. We've got the immediate needs," he added.
There is also FEMA assistance for people who lost their homes and businesses, they need to register with FEMA to get aid.
They can register online at: disaster-assistance-dot-gov…or on your smart phone go to m-dot-fema-dot-gov.