Four weeks after a tornado struck central Arkansas, killing 16 people, amid a severe storm that also caused widespread flooding, the Federal Emergency Management Agency said it has distributed nearly $2.3 million to survivors.
The EF4 tornado killed people in Pulaski, Faulkner and White counties and damaged sections of Mayflower and Vilonia. More than 5 inches of rainfall in Randolph County washed out county roads and bridges.
Individual assistance from FEMA is available to residents affected by the storms in Pulaski, Faulkner, White and Randolph counties. Public assistance for governmental agencies and nonprofit entities is available in Faulkner, Cleburne, Independence, Jackson, Izard, Sharp, Lawrence, Randolph, White, Fulton and Clay counties.
The centers where residents can apply for individual assistance are at 600 Arkansas 365 in Mayflower and at 1122 Main St. in Vilonia. The centers will be closed today for Memorial Day. After that, the centers will be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, although centers in Pulaski, White and Randolph counties have closed.
Survivors can continue to register and get information about their applications online at www.disasterassistance.gov or via web-enabled phone at m.fema.gov. They may also call (800) 621-3362 or (TTY) (800) 462-7585. The toll-free telephone numbers will be answered from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week.
FEMA said it has also approved $2.5 million in low-interest disaster assistance loans so far, and disaster assistance survey teams have surveyed 1,800 homes.
"With everyone pulling together, Arkansas will continue along the road to recovery," FEMA Federal Coordinating Officer Timothy J. Scranton said in a news release.
Meanwhile, cleanup of storm debris left by the tornado has continued.
In Faulkner County, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission officials said that as of Thursday they had removed nearly 600 tons of building materials, fallen trees, appliances and other debris from Lake Conway.
Gov. Mike Beebe announced Friday that he would release $500,000 in state funds to assist Pulaski County in removing debris. Pulaski County was not included in the public assistance portion of the federal disaster declaration, which funds costs of debris removal and rebuilding roads, bridges and other infrastructure.
"Everyone involved with this mission has worked hard and made progress. But recovery is not just about dollars and debris piles," Arkansas Department of Emergency Management Director David Maxwell said in a news release.
State Desk on 05/26/2014