FEMA expands federal disaster declaration in Arkansas

WASHINGTON – The Federal Emergency Management Agency late Monday expanded its federal disaster declaration in Arkansas to nine additional counties at the request of Gov. Mike Beebe.

The federal disaster declaration that was issued after the April 27 tornado and floods now extends to 11 counties in the state, according to a press release issued by the state’s congressional delegation.

Beebe requested on Friday for Clay, Cleburne, Fulton, Independence, Izard, Jackson, Lawrence, Randolph and Sharp counties to be added to the disaster declaration.

Damage assessments in the counties found public infrastructure damage and debris-removal costs totaling $14 million, the governor’s office said. That total does not include damage and destruction of private property.

Adding the counties to the federal disaster declaration will allow local governments to apply for federal assistance to help cover the costs of disaster response and infrastructure repairs.

Sixteen people died in the storms, including an unborn baby whose mother was hurt. Another 153 were injured.

Assistance for individual storm victims remains available in Faulkner, Pulaski, Randolph and White counties, which already have been declared federal disaster areas. Affected residents can call FEMA at (800) 621-3362 or visit a Disaster Response Center in their community.