WASHINGTON D.C. - Arkansas' congressional delegation is urging the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to approve Governor Mike Beebe's request for a major disaster declaration for Independence, Pulaski, Randolph, and White counties after the April 27 storms.
U.S. Senators Mark Pryor and John Boozman, along with U.S. Congressmen Rick Crawford (AR-1), Tim Griffin (AR-2), Steve Womack (AR-3), and Tom Cotton (AR-4) today sent letters to FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate and President Obama in support of the declaration.
On Sunday, Pryor and Griffin visited storm-stricken communities with Department of Homeland Security Johnson and reaffirmed the delegation's strong support of Beebe's request.
The full text of the letters is below:
We are writing in support of Governor Mike Beebe’s request for a major disaster declaration for the following counties: Independence, Pulaski, Randolph, and White.
On April 27, 2014, these counties experienced destructive storms and tornadoes that resulted in 16 fatalities, power outages for 35,000 electrical customers, hundreds of Arkansans being forced from their homes into temporary shelters, and tremendous amounts of storm debris scattered throughout the affected communities. Early observations indicate that the most severe impact was to homes, businesses, roadways, and public facilities.
The last few years have been particularly difficult for Arkansans who have had to recover and rebuild from various natural disasters. As we see in many crises, Arkansans have come to the aid of their neighbors, family, and friends, but further assistance is needed.
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), and implemented by 44 CFR § 206.36, we ask that Arkansas receive a major disaster declaration for these counties due to the damage assessed. Specifically, we request Individual Assistance for the counties to be added to the major disaster declaration granted to Arkansas on April 29, 2014 (DR-4174).
As you know, the State of Arkansas and its rural districts are working tirelessly to save lives and begin the process of cleaning up and ultimately rebuilding. All available resources at the state and local level, including the Arkansas National Guard, are being used, but greater federal assistance is needed to help our communities recover. Arkansas is a predominantly rural state and this series of disasters has exceeded the ability of our local government to respond. The past several years have been particularly difficult for Arkansas residents due to numerous severe weather events. We appreciate the financial assistance received as a result of several federal disaster and emergency declarations, many of which impacted the same communities still in the recovery process, and the quick, comprehensive response of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. We hope that a similar response will follow this disaster.
Administrator Fugate, we appreciate your responsiveness to past disaster requests and respectfully request your swift consideration and approval of this request. If you have any questions or need additional information, please do not hesitate to contact us.
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