Share This Article
Tornadoes that ravaged Arkansas and ten other states on Friday left behind serious destruction and at least 32 people dead, five of which were in Arkansas.
Saturday morning, Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders and President Joe Biden spoke by phone and discussed the damaging tornadoes and severe weather that moved across Arkansas on Friday.
According to a news release by the Governor’s press team, the President expressed his support for the people of Arkansas and emphasized that the federal government stands ready to assist. Governor Sanders thanked the President for the close coordination of his team and for the Administration’s commitment to aiding response and recovery efforts across central Arkansas and in Wynne.
Not long after the call, by Sunday, the request for a ‘Major Disaster Declaration’ from President Joe Biden was approved. FEMA was on the ground the very same morning.
“I’d like to express my thanks to President Biden and our federal partners for their speedy approval of my Major Disaster Declaration request. It’s clear that the damage caused by Friday’s tornadoes is significant and widespread,” said Governor Sanders. “I will continue to work with our first responders, law enforcement, volunteers, and state and local leaders to help Arkansans recover. Arkansas stands strong. I know we will come back from this.”
The President’s action makes federal funding available to affected individuals in Cross, Lonoke and Pulaski counties. FEMA’s Individual Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.
Federal funding is also available to state and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for debris removal and emergency protective measures (Categories A and B), including direct federal assistance, under the Public Assistance program in Cross, Lonoke and Pulaski counties.
Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide.
Roland W. Jackson has been named the Federal Coordinating Officer for federal recovery operations in the affected areas. Additional designations may be made at a later date if warranted by the results of damage assessments.
Additionally, on Friday, Governor Sanders declared a State of Emergency. At least 40 members of the national guard are on the ground to assist.
The Governor also directed $250,000 from the Governor’s Disaster Response and Recovery Fund to be used at the discretion of the Director of the Arkansas Division of Emergency Management to defray both program and administrative costs.
Governor Sanders surveyed tornado damage in Wynne, Arkansas with FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell on Sunday morning and held a press conference. Wynne High School saw widespread destruction with the roof and some walls blown away. Children and educators were dismissed early on Friday and were not present when the tornado ripped the building apart.
Residents and business owners who sustained losses in the designated areas can begin applying for federal assistance by registering online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621- 3362 or 1-800-462-7585 TTY.