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FEMA sets up recovery center in Claremore 6 weeks after tornado

Disaster Recovery Center FEMA Claremore
Posted at 4:17 PM, Jul 08, 2024

CLAREMORE, Okla. — Federal help is coming to Claremore homeowners after FEMA opened its Disaster Recovery Center.

It’s been six weeks since a damaging tornado tore through the Rogers County community.

The sound of chainsaws has been the constant backing track for Claremore neighbors.

“It’s a reminder,” said Amanda Catalono. “It’s a constant reminder of what happened.”

Amanda Catalono lives near the Rogers County Courthouse in one of the many neighborhoods hit hard by the storm.

“There was a lot of damage,” said Catalono. “There were power poles down in my front yard. There were trees down. Luckily, our house didn’t take too much damage.”

HE'S ALIVE THAT'S WHAT COUNTS: Claremore residents seeing what can be salvaged

Others, like the Spinks family, weren’t so lucky.

“Until you’re in it, you don’t think about it,” said Jenny Spinks. “You don’t realize it.”

A tarp is covering their roof, windows are boarded up, and broken trees lay in their front yard.

There hasn’t been much movement since their daughter walked through their home moments after the storm six weeks ago.

“It’s been very stressful,” said Spinks. “I will tell you that much. Probably the most frustrating part is the house, the whole waiting game.” 

FEMA was in Claremore after the storm to survey damage:

FEMA in Claremore assessing damage to help those affected

Jenny and her husband Aaron finally got the okay from insurance to start work on their home. At the same time, they looked into federal aid through FEMA. Over the weekend, they visited the Disaster Recovery Center at the Rogers County Health Department.

FEMA is helping families get back on their feet, from housing assistance for people with nowhere to go, to grants that’ll help start the rebuild process.

“Whether it’s rebuilding the doorway of their home or it’s putting food back into the refrigerator, these are all types of ways we can assist with those funds,” said Leyla Gulen.

Leyla Gulen, Public Information Officer with FEMA, said families have until mid-August to apply for assistance.

“This is not a way that we can make you whole again, but these are significant funds, in many cases, that can at least jump-start the process to recovery,” said Gulen.

For the Spinks family they’re just working toward a full recovery.
“A little bit of normalcy, yeah, that’s kind of the thing,” said Spinks.

The center is open for residents and businesses in Blaine, Caddo, Carter, Craig, Custer, Delaware, Hughes, Jackson, Johnston, Kay, Lincoln, Love, Mayes, McClain, Murray, Muskogee, Nowata, Okfuskee, Okmulgee, Osage, Ottawa, Pontotoc, Pottawatomie, Rogers, Washington and Washita counties.

The center’s hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, closed Sunday.

If you can’t make it to the Disaster Recovery Center, you can call the toll-free number at 1-800-621-FEMA.

You can also download the FEMA app or visit their website.

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