Sanders asks for 100% federal cost share for cleanup expenses in storm-hit counties

Landon Milhorn, left, and Matthew Driggers, both members of the US Coast Guard, carry pieces of wood cut from a fallen tree as they help with disaster relief in Sherwood on Monday, April 3, 2023. More photos at (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Stephen Swofford)

Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders asked the federal government on Tuesday to cover all recovery expenses for the first 30 days after Friday’s storms.

The 100% federal cost share request for state and local resources was announced in a news release on Tuesday afternoon. It applies to “cleanup and emergency measures in Pulaski, Lonoke and Cross counties,” the release states. 

“I’ve been across our state since Friday, surveying damage, meeting with survivors, and discussing recovery efforts with local leaders, emergency personnel, and volunteers,” Sanders said in the release. “It’s clear that the cost to clean up the damage those storms created will be substantial.”

According to the governor, the federal government is currently covering 75% of all costs, but she added that the “arrangement must go further to help Arkansans in need.”

Earlier, Sanders announced that a mobile recovery unit set up by the Federal Emergency Management Agency has been established in Wynne.

The unit — which will allow people to meet with FEMA representatives for help in such areas as insurance, identification and Small Business Association Loans — will be located in the old Sears building, 702 U.S. 64, according to Sanders.

The Wynne unit follows the establishment of two others, one in Little Rock and another in North Little Rock.

The governor also urged people who need assistance, or who wish to volunteer or donate items, to visit 

Sanders gave the announcement as Arkansans brace for a new round of storms forecasters expected late Tuesday and into Wednesday morning. Tornadoes, damaging winds and hail as large as a golf ball are possible, according to the National Weather Service in North Little Rock. 

Forecasters said the storms are expected to develop in western Arkansas and move eastward overnight. 

The agency urged residents to keep up with the forecast, making sure to have several methods of receiving weather warnings, such as a weather radio and alerts via cellphone. 

“We cannot stress enough the importance of staying aware,” the weather service said in a Twitter post early Tuesday.