Arkansas Delegation supports Governor’s request for Major Disaster Declaration

Local News

WASHINGTON— U.S. Senators John Boozman and Tom Cotton—along with Congressmen Rick Crawford, French Hill, Steve Womack and Bruce Westerman—wrote to President Donald Trump urging him to support Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson’s request for a federal disaster declaration for Arkansas, Bradley, Cleveland, Dallas, Desha, Drew, Grant, Jefferson, Lincoln, Ouachita and Phillips Counties due to extensive damage as a result of severe storms on April 12, 2020.

“We believe the severe magnitude of these weather events warrant supplementary Federal assistance. The state of Arkansas has already been dealing with financial hardships due to extensive damages from previous extreme weather events hurting local businesses and agricultural enterprises. This, coupled with the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, have put the state of Arkansas in a dire situation,” members wrote.

The letter can be found below:

Dear Mr. President:

On behalf of the State of Arkansas, we are writing to support Governor Asa Hutchinson’s request to declare a major disaster, pursuant to the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief Act, as a result of severe storms and tornados which took place on April 12, 2020.

Based on Preliminary Damage Assessments (PDAs), conducted by FEMA, at least 59 homes were destroyed with an additional 109 homes sustaining major damage. In total, over 531 homes were affected by the storms, of which an estimated 50% of the affected homes are uninsured. In total, eleven Arkansas counties sustained significant storm damage, leaving thousands without power for up to two weeks. Unfortunately, the eleven counties who sustained major storm damages have a total of 22.3% living below the poverty line.

Simply put, we believe the severe magnitude of these weather events warrant supplementary Federal assistance. The state of Arkansas has already been dealing with financial hardships due to extensive damages from previous extreme weather events, hurting local businesses and agricultural enterprises. This, coupled with the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have put the state of Arkansas in a dire situation.

Arkansas is still recovering from historic flooding events that took place last year, and is currently dealing with the increasing economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Unfortunately, Arkansas was in the midst of recovering from multiple disasters before COVID-19. Since January 2018 the state of Arkansans has had 13 Gubernatorial Declared disasters and numerous federally declared disasters.

Recent Presidential Major Disaster Declarations for Arkansas

  • Arkansas Severe Storms, Tornadoes, Straight-line winds (DR 4544) May 8, 2020
  • Arkansas COVID-19 (DR 4518) April 3, 2020
  • Arkansas COVID-19 (EM 3461) March 13, 2020
  • Arkansas Severe Storms, Straight-line winds, Tornadoes, and Flooding (DR 4460) Sept. 13, 2019
  • Arkansas Severe Storms and flooding (DR 4441) May 29, 2019
  • Record breaking flooding along the Arkansas River that included EM 3414
  • Arkansas Severe Storms, Tornadoes, Straight-line winds, and Flooding (DR 4318) April 26, 2017
  • Arkansas Severe Storms, Tornadoes, Straight-line winds, and Flooding (DR 4270) March 08, 2016
  • Arkansas Severe Storms, Tornadoes, Straight-line winds, and Flooding (DR 4254) Dec. 23, 2015
  • Arkansas Severe Storms, Tornadoes, Straight-line winds, and Flooding (DR 4226) May 8, 2015
  • Arkansas Severe Storms, Tornadoes, and Flooding (DR 4174) April 27, 2014
  • Arkansas Severe Winter Storm (DR 4160) December 5, 2013
  • Arkansas Severe Storms and Flooding (DR 4143) August 8, 2013
  • Arkansas Severe Storms, Tornadoes, and Flooding (DR 4124) May 30, 2013
  • Arkansas Severe Winter Storm (DR 4100) December 25, 2012
  • Arkansas Severe Storms, Tornadoes, and Flooding (DR 4000) May 24, 2011
  • Arkansas Severe Storms, Tornadoes, and Flooding (DR 1975) April 14, 2011

Without the assistance of the Federal government, we fear the burden will be too much for the state of Arkansas to bear alone. As losses mount, the people of our great state hope the federal government will join in restoration efforts. Federal government resources are critical in the aftermath of these devastating events, and coordination between the federal government and state and local officials is crucial to begin the process of recovery and rebuilding.

We are eager to assist in any way possible to ensure expedited evaluation of this request. Please do not hesitate to contact our offices with any questions. We thank you for the support you have already offered, and respectfully ask for your continued attention and assistance in providing the resources necessary to ensure the safety of Arkansans.

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