Oklahoma tornado costs: huge and polemic

In Central Oklahoma the new mantra is to rebuild as quickly as possible. Hurricane Moore has literally swept the area and the impact both on public and private property has been huge. Mountains of debris stand in the place of streets and parks, shops and neighborhoods.

Moore’s twister bill could be the highest of US history. Damages could top the $2 billion in damage from the 2011 tornado that struck Joplin, Mo, according to the Oklahoma Insurance Department.

So it’s time for the who-pays-what. There is private property like houses and cars but also bridges and roads that will need to be borne by the state and county.

Amid questions of whether the government could have been better prepared, many are also wondering if red tape will delay official help. For now, the federal government has promised it will pick up 85 percent of the tab for debris removal for the first month, and 80 percent for the two months after that.

Homeless and uninsured

Home insurances are likely to bring many painful problems on the table: not everyone is covered. And many don’t even know it. Although 98% of the houses in the US are insured, only about 7 out of 10 of those who rent an apartment do have an insurance policy. The same happens to small businesses. With the economic crisis, many entrepreneurs decided to use the insurance money to reinvest in their companies.

Roughly 1,200 tornadoes touch down in the USA every year. USA Today reported in 2011 that “tornadoes (and related weather events) have caused about 57% of all insured catastrophic losses” since 1953. Over the past five years, insurers have paid $75bn to victims of those fatalities.

About the Author

Ana Fuentes
Columnist for El País and a contributor to SER (Sociedad Española de Radiodifusión), was the first editor-in-chief of The Corner. Currently based in Madrid, she has been a correspondent in New York, Beijing and Paris for several international media outlets such as Prisa Radio, Radio Netherlands or CNN en español. Ana holds a degree in Journalism from the Complutense University in Madrid and the Sorbonne University in Paris, and a Master's in Journalism from Spanish newspaper El País.

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