WASHINGTON — Gov. Mike Beebe’s request for a major disaster declaration for Faulkner County was approved Tuesday by President Obama, according to a White House press release.
Residents and business owners in Faulkner County will be able to seek federal grants and low-interest loans as they recover and rebuild from the deadly weekend tornadoes that struck central Arkansas.
Beebe requested the declaration on Monday. The Arkansas congressional delegation had also supported the designation in letters to Obama and FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate.
“As we see in many crises, Arkansans have come to the aid of their neighbors, family and friends, but further assistance is needed,” they wrote.
Fugate has named Timothy J. Scranton as the Federal Coordinating Officer for federal recovery operations in the affected area.
Faulkner County residents and businesses that sustained losses can begin applying for assistance at http://www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-3362. The toll-free number will operate between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m.
Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.
Federal funding also is available to state and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for debris removal and emergency work for damage from the severe storms, tornadoes, and flooding in Faulkner County.
Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide.
Damage surveys are continuing in other areas, and more counties and additional forms of assistance may be designated after the assessments are fully completed, according to FEMA.
The tornado that tore through Faulkner County appeared to be at least an EF 3 tornado, with winds between 136 mph and 165 mph. Friday was the third anniversary of a tornado that killed four people in Vilonia and leveled part of the town. That tornado was classified as an EF2.
Beebe has declared Faulkner, Pulaski and White counties state disaster areas.