.S. Senators Mark Pryor and John Boozman, along with Congressmen Rick Crawford (AR-1), Tim Griffin (AR-2), Steve Womack (AR-3), and Mike Ross (AR-4) today applauded FEMA's decision to reverse course and allow individuals in Franklin and Johnson Counties to apply for and receive federal disaster assistance.
"Federal assistance will add new momentum to the recovery process," Pryor said. "The local, state and federal collaboration has been tremendous and helped FEMA to better assess the situation on the ground."
"The people of Franklin and Johnson Counties have suffered tremendously as a result of these devastating storms. I am pleased that, at our urging and that of the Governor, FEMA has recognized the need for assistance," Boozman said.
"Amidst the natural disasters that devastated Arkansas, I'm pleased Franklin and Johnson Counties are allowed federal disaster assistance. This action will help speed up the recovery process and get Arkansans back to work," said Crawford.
"I am pleased that FEMA has approved Gov. Beebe's appeal and will assist Arkansans who are trying to rebuild their lives," Griffin said.
"I am appreciative of FEMA's reconsideration. Their eventual determination was the correct one and the same conclusion we've known all along," said Womack. "These two counties deserve to have full access to the funds available to help them get back on their feet."
"As I said when Johnson and Franklin Counties were first denied, it would be hard to imagine what more these communities must go through to get the relief they deserve," added Womack. "Again, I want to thank FEMA for its re-evaluation and I want to congratulate the leaders of both counties for their hard work and diligence in representing the interests of those they serve."
"Unfortunately, Arkansas has experienced more than its fair share of storms and flooding so far this year," said Ross. "Often times, disasters can be overwhelming for many of our communities, who have to rebuild entire parts of their town, and many families, who may be displaced from their jobs for an extended period of time because their place of employment has been destroyed or heavily damaged. I'm pleased the President granted Governor Beebe's appeal because this disaster relief will give much-needed help to Franklin and Johnson counties as they recover and rebuild."
On May 24 and 25, tornadoes swept through Franklin and Johnson Counties, killing 8 individuals, destroying 105 homes, and damaging more than 50 businesses. On June 17, FEMA denied Governor Beebe's request for a major disaster declaration for these counties. On June 24, the state submitted an appeal that included additional information about damaged homes and infrastructure; National Weather Service reports; impact on students and the elderly; the scope of power outages and damage to utilities; and the extent of donations and services provided by volunteer organizations.
Under this federal declaration, Franklin and Johnson County residents will be eligible to apply for aid through the Individual Assistance Program, which includes funding for households, temporary housing assistance, disaster unemployment aid, crisis counseling, and business loans and/or aid. Funding through the Public Assistance Grant Program will be available for emergency and repair work in Crawford, Franklin, and Johnson Counties.
In addition, all counties in the state will be eligible to apply for the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, which provides assistance to state and local governments and certain nonprofit organizations for projects that prevent or reduce long-term risk to life and property from natural hazards.
Individuals who would like to apply for disaster assistance may call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or visit www.disasterassistance.gov to find out more information.