President Donald Trump has declared 13 Arkansas counties as disaster areas after powerful floods and tornadoes ripped through the state in late April and early May. Individual residents in Benton, Boone, Carroll, Clay, Faulkner, Fulton, Jackson, Lawrence, Pulaski, Randolph, Saline, Washington and Yell counties will qualify for Individual Assistance (IA) under the Federal Emergency Management Administration, FEMA.
Public Assistance (PA) for emergency work and the repair or replacement of disaster-damaged facilities is available for Baxter, Benton, Boone, Carroll, Clay, Cleburne, Conway, Craighead, Cross, Faulkner, Independence, Izard, Jackson, Lawrence, Madison, Marion, Mississippi, Montgomery, Newton, Ouachita, Perry, Poinsett, Prairie, Randolph, Saline, Washington, White and Woodruff counties.
The state’s congressional delegation thanked Trump and FEMA for the declaration. Gov. Asa Hutchinson and his team also garnered praise for the swift damage assessment conducted by state officials.
“This is welcome news for the Arkansas families and businesses who have been waiting patiently for relief from these disasters. These emergency funds will provide much-needed relief that will help those coping with the aftermath of these storms to recover, rebuild and get back on their feet. I am especially appreciative of our federal delegation, and their support and assistance during this process,” Hutchinson said.
Floodwaters topped the primary earthen levee along the Black River in Pocahontas Tuesday (May 2), swamping the city’s eastern side. More than 300 people had to be evacuated. At least 50 homes were destroyed, and another 150 were damaged. U.S. 67 connecting the city to points east had to be be shutdown and a slew of businesses including the town’s Walmart Supercenter and McDonald’s were inundated by water.
The river crested at nearly 30-feet, more than a foot higher than the all-time record set in 2011 when the town was decimated by flood waters. U.S. 63 near Portia was shutdown for almost two days. It’s the main highway artery connecting NEA with Northcentral Arkansas. Floodwaters shutdown U.S. 67 between Pocahontas and Walnut Ridge for more than a week. The waters flowed from Pocahontas to other counties and cities across NEA. The agriculture damage caused by the waters could top $330 million.
Arkansans eligible for individual assistance can register with FEMA by applying online at www.DisasterAssistance.go.
The registration phone number at 1-800-621-3362; those who have a speech disability or hearing loss and use TTY, should call 1-800-462-7585 directly; for those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 1-800-621-3362.