Little Rock mayor confirms no Arkansas tornado fatalities in city; FEMA says help available

Mayor Frank Scott Jr. holds a press conference with FEMA Administrator Dianne Criswell (center left) on Sunday, April 2, 2023 behind the Colony West Shopping Center in Little Rock. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Staci Vandagriff)
Mayor Frank Scott Jr. holds a press conference with FEMA Administrator Dianne Criswell (center left) on Sunday, April 2, 2023 behind the Colony West Shopping Center in Little Rock. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Staci Vandagriff)


Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr. confirmed Sunday that there are no reported fatalities in the city, following the EF3 tornado that impacted over 2,500 structures in the city Friday afternoon.

Scott declared a state of emergency following a phone call with President Joe Biden and additional support the city received from Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

The mayor was joined Sunday morning by the Federal Emergency Management Agency in a press conference, which was held just outside of the heavily damaged Colony West Shopping Center.

Attorney General Tim Griffin and Lt. Gov. Leslie Rutledge also spoke at the news conference on Sunday.

The sounds of construction, chainsaws, trucks carrying loads of debris and hundreds of volunteers helping throughout the neighboring streets drowned out most of each speaker's comments. That continued through the end of the conference.

City staff and community members have spent the days following the Friday storm coming together to clear roadways, provide free meals to those in need and offering their services where they can, the mayor said.

“We’re going to try and get operations back to as smooth as possible,” Scott said. “It’s going to probably take months for a lot of these residential communities, as well as our commercial activity, to get back to normal. It’s our first priority to do all we can to rebuild and recover for the residents of Little Rock and Central Arkansas.”

FEMA representatives highlighted that their assistance can be used in many ways by those affected by the storm.

Speakers with the federal organization reminded people that not every person’s impact story will look the same or require the same assistance.

Those seeking help from the agency will discuss what services are needed and will be directed to the necessary resources and help, they said. 

Griffin urged those seeking help to be cautious before trusting online assistance that is offered to them.

The attorney general said there have been two known instances of residents being scammed by people “price gouging” and over-charging for services.

Griffin also said that his office and staff are actively monitoring other possible “price gouging” scenarios and handling them as needed.

With over 50 injuries reported and thousands of residents still without power, Scott said the city will continue to post contact information and details for how to get in touch with the state and federal agencies for assistance.

“We’re just working in concert with state, federal and local partners to ensure that we respond with a great level of priority toward our residents,” Scott said. “It’s a time to unite. As a city, as a state and as a region. We’ve got to demonstrate our love.”


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