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Federal government to pay 100% of Arkansas' tornado costs for 30 days, Sanders says

by Grant Lancaster | April 8, 2023 at 7:24 p.m.
Cleanup continues in Wynne on Sunday, April 2, 2023 after a tornado hit the city during storms on Friday, March 31. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Thomas Metthe)

The federal government has agreed to shoulder the full cost of cleaning up Arkansas tornado debris and other emergency measures for 30 days, Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced Saturday.

President Joe Biden accepted Sanders’ Tuesday request to pay for 100% of the recovery effort over a 30-day period, a news release from the governor’s office states. The Federal Emergency Management Agency typically funds 75% of public assistance to state and local governments.

“Last week, I asked President Biden to approve a 100 percent federal cost share for our storm recovery expenses,” Sanders states in the Saturday release. “Today, I’m pleased to announce that the President has approved our request.”

State leaders may choose any 30-day period within 120 days after the disaster occurred to draw on the funding, a White House news release announcing the decision states. The tornadoes struck Arkansas on March 31.

Sanders said in the release that she is confident the partnership between federal authorities and state officials, which she described as seamless, will continue for the duration of the recovery period.

The money will reimburse state and local governments for the resources poured into Pulaski, Lonoke and Cross counties to pick up the pieces after the storms, which claimed five lives and injured dozens of people, state and local leaders have said.

The head of the Arkansas Division of Emergency Management has estimated that the storms destroyed about 120 homes and damaged nearly 1,700 more.

Sanders declared a state of emergency on March 31 in the aftermath of the storm to help ease the jobs of those working in the affected areas.


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