Three counties in east Arkansas receive disaster mitigation funds

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 505 views 

(Photo courtesy of Lauren Geurin)

Lee, St. Francis and Cross counties will receive grants from the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management (ADEM) to do work on their FEMA-approved Disaster Mitigation Plans, according to the East Arkansas Planning and Development District.

Lee County’s grant will be used for the creation of a brand-new disaster mitigation plan. St. Francis & Cross counties applied together for a more regional approach to their mitigation efforts. Each of these grants are for $37,500, bringing the total FEMA investment in east Arkansas to $75,000, the EAPDD reported.

“Adding these plans will go a long way toward, not just preparing a community for the severe weather Arkansas often experiences, but the fortification of infrastructure will also make these communities more attractive to potential business,” Melissa Rivers, EAPDD Executive Director said.

These plans are important to the communities because having a disaster mitigation plan that is FEMA approved allows them to apply for additional funding through the agency, she said. The funding that will be available to them after the completion of their plans includes Flood Mitigation Assistance, Pre-Disaster Mitigation and the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, she added.

EAPDD began working on disaster mitigation in July of 2016 when they received a $190,000 grant from the Economic Development Administration for the hiring of Ashley Lawrence, EAPDD’s Disaster Resiliency Coordinator. Since then EAPDD has secured ADEM funding for disaster mitigation plans in Phillips, Poinsett, Lawrence and Clay counties, as well as a FEMA Assistance to Firefighters Grant for the town of Elaine in Phillips County.