Oklahoma Governor Demands Quick Action on Tornado Relief

Oklahoma needs quick action from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency as the town of Moore recovers from a tornado last week, Governor Mary Fallin said.

“So far, FEMA’s done a great job,” she said, speaking on CBS’s “Face the Nation” program. “There’s going to come a time when there’s going to be a tremendous amount of need once we begin the debris clearing.”

A tornado with winds more than 200 miles (322 kilometers) per hour leveled homes and killed at least 24 people in Moore, Oklahoma, a town of about 55,000, on May 20. It damaged about 13,000 structures, catastrophe risk modeler Eqecat said in a May 23 statement, citing National Weather Service data. The storm topped the service’s scale for tornado strength.

President Barack Obama is scheduled to visit Moore today to view damage and meet survivors, who include students at an elementary school that was leveled by the storm. Obama declared the area a major disaster, making U.S. funding available for repair and recovery.

Fallin told CNN’s “State of the Union” that she hopes the government response will be quick enough. She said she needs the ability to get through “red tape.”

“There’s a lot to be done here; A lot of businesses closed, a lot of people without jobs because their businesses are closed,” Fallin said on CNN. “It’s not just a couple of houses with roofs off.”

All members of Oklahoma’s congressional delegation are Republicans, some of whom voted last year against disaster aid for victims of Superstorm Sandy that hit hardest in New Jersey.

There are still families displaced and small businesses unopened in the wake of Sandy, Representative Michael Grimm, a Republican from New York, said on CNN about disaster recovery.

“You think the cavalry’s coming, and it’s going to take a long time because there is a bureaucracy,” he said. “We certainly haven’t done enough, and it certainly is taking too long.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Jeanna Smialek in Washington at jsmialek1@bloomberg.net; Angela Greiling Keane in Washington at agreilingkea@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Ann Hughey at ahughey@bloomberg.net

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