LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Streets are being cleared and roofs are being covered with tarps as recovery crews work to help Mena recover from a devastating tornado.
From Arkansas National Guard soldiers to church groups to state prisoners, help was coming from a wide area to help residents get ready to rebuild.
In the city of 5,700, 600 homes were damaged or destroyed, major employers sustained severe damage and so did government buildings.
Work Saturday was coordinated at a staging area at the Dallas Avenue Baptist Church.
Polk County Emergency Management Coordinator James Reeves says people who want to donate ice chests, tarps or other items, such as bottled water, can drop off their items at the church.
Reeves says the main effort was to cover damaged roofs and clear drainage ditches in advance of rain and thunderstorms that were forecast to start at about 2 a.m. Sunday.
Reeves says the massive effort is helping restore function to the city of 5,700, but some residents are showing the strain they're under. He says "a lot" of residents are calling 911, saying they are breaking down physically and mentally. Reeves says many people have not slept in 72 hours, and that it's understandable that they're hurting.
Fifty soldiers from the National Guard worked security and on debris removal, and 60 prisoners aided in the removal effort, though not necessarily shoulder-to-shoulder with the troops.
The tornado, with winds estimated at between 136-165 mph, struck Thursday evening, killing three and injuring at least 60. About 600 homes were damaged or destroyed, major employers and government buildings sustained severe damage and the county's emergency communications center was still inoperable on Saturday. The death toll remained at three.
Reeves said more people were getting hurt in falls and other mishaps as they worked on their homes. Their calls to 911 are being handled by Montgomery County, which relays the information via radio.
Plenty of people are aiding in the recovery effort. Firefighters and sheriff's deputies from several counties, church groups, charitable organizations and others are playing roles that range from performing stoop labor to distributing food and water.
Reeves is full of praise for the volunteers that have pitched in and said the effort would not have made so much progress without them.
Three churches near each other that were badly damaged are going ahead with Easter Sunday services.
Mena First Baptist Church had damage to the front of the building, so worshippers will be moved to the back for the service. St. Agnes Catholic Church isn't safe but Reeves said the congregation will move to another building the church has. Reeves says the congregants of the First Methodist Church will gather under a roof covered with tarps.
Matt DeCample, spokesman for Gov. Mike Beebe, said Saturday that the scope of the damage was still stunning to consider. A tornado in Dumas in 2007 cut through town, knocking out several businesses and damaging or destroying 150 homes, but equal to only a fraction of the damage in Mena.
The recovery effort has a long way to go, but Reeves said electricity has been restored to rural areas and that crews are working to get power to parts of Mena that can accept it.
But most much of the area will be in the dark for a while yet, and Reeves put out a call Saturday for people to donate ice chests and more tarps. He said 1,000 tarps had been put to use through Saturday afternoon but there were many more roofs to cover.
Rain and thunderstorms were forecast to begin early Sunday morning and last through Monday.
Reeves said donations could be brought to the Dallas Avenue Baptist Church, where there is a staging area. The center can accept other donations, too, such as bottled water.
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