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Arkansas Delegation Supports Governor's Request of Disaster Declaration

June 24, 2015

 

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senators John Boozman and Tom Cotton—along with Congressmen Rick Crawford, French Hill, Steve Womack and Bruce Westerman—today sent a letter to President Obama supporting Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson's request for a federal disaster declaration for 33 Arkansas counties following severe storms and flooding.

The following is full text of the delegation's letter:

We are writing in support of Governor Asa Hutchinson's request for a major disaster declaration for the following counties in the State of Arkansas: Chicot, Clark, Crawford, Conway, Dallas, Faulkner, Franklin, Garland, Hempstead, Howard, Independence, Izard, Jefferson, Johnson, Lafayette, Little River, Logan, Madison, Marion, Miller, Montgomery, Nevada, Newton, Ouachita, Perry, Pike, Polk, Pope, Scott, Searcy, Sebastian, Sevier and Yell counties.

Since May 7, 2015, the State of Arkansas has experienced a continuing pattern of destructive storms, severe flooding, and tornadoes, resulting in 3 fatalities and severe damages to hundreds of homes across the state. As we see in many crises, people have come to the aid of their neighbors; however, the extent of the damage has surpassed the state government's ability to respond.

Pursuant to the provision of Section 401 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 5121-5207 (Stafford Act), implemented by 44 CFR § 206.36, we ask that Arkansas receive a major disaster declaration for these counties due to the damages assessed. We urge the approval of Public Assistance (Categories A - G), Individual Assistance (IA), including the Individuals and Households Program (IHP), temporary housing which may include manufactured housing (mobile homes, park models, etc.), Disaster Unemployment Assistance, Disaster Case Management, Disaster Legal Services, Crisis Counseling, Small Business Administration disaster loans, and Hazard Mitigation Statewide. 

As you know, the State of Arkansas and our communities are working tirelessly to assist citizens and begin the process of cleaning up and ultimately rebuilding. Resources at the state and local level, including the Arkansas National Guard, Arkansas Forestry Commissions, and the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department, are being fully utilized, but greater federal assistance is needed to help our communities recover. Arkansas is a predominantly rural state and this most recent series of disasters has exceeded the ability of our local governments to respond. The past several years have been particularly difficult for Arkansas residents due to numerous severe weather events impacting many of the same areas you recently visited last May 2014. Volunteer organizations, to include the Salvation Army and the American Red Cross, have provided more than 1,000 meals, and continue to provide necessary support services to displaced residents. The assistance received as a result of several earlier federal disaster and emergency declarations has been vital, and many of the same communities are still in the recovery process from these earlier disasters. We hope that a similar response will follow this disaster. 

Mr. President, we thank you for your attention to this matter and urge your swift consideration and approval of the state's request. If you have any questions or need additional information, please do not hesitate to contact us.