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WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Mark Pryor and John Boozman, along with Congressmen Rick Crawford (AR-1), Tim Griffin (AR-2), Steve Womack (AR-3), and Tom Cotton (AR-4) today sent a letter to the President and FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate supporting Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe’s request for a major disaster declaration for the state of Arkansas.

This request comes after severe storms, tornadoes, and flooding caused 5 fatalities, extensive power outages, and a massive build-up of storm debris in the state. Despite state and local efforts to clean up, the extent of the damage has surpassed the state’s ability to respond. Federal assistance is needed to help these communities rebuild and recover.

The following is text of the letter:

We are writing in support of Governor Mike Beebe’s request for a major disaster declaration for the following counties in the State of Arkansas: Cleburne, Cross, Garland, Independence, Montgomery, Poinsett, Polk, Scott, Searcy, Stone, Van Buren, and Woodruff.  

Beginning on May 30, 2013, and continuing through June 3, 2013, these counties experienced severe storms, tornadoes, and flooding. The storms caused 5 fatalities, power outages for 31,000 electrical customers, and left local communities inundated with storm debris. Preliminary assessments indicate that the most severe impact was to private homes, businesses, roadways, and public facilities and utilities. As we see in many crises, people have come to the aid of their neighbors, 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. We would also like to specifically request Public Assistance (Categories A-G) for the counties listed above and Hazard Mitigation statewide.

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 governments 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.  

We 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.