U.S. Senators John Boozman and Tom Cotton—along with Congressmen Rick Crawford, French Hill, Steve Womack and Bruce Westerman—today sent a letter to President Donald Trump supporting Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson’s request for a federal disaster declaration for 31 Arkansas counties following severe storms, flooding and tornadoes in April and May.
Governor Hutchinson’s request included the following counties: Baxter, Benton, Boone, Carroll, Clay, Cleburne, Conway, Craighead, Cross, Faulkner, Fulton, Independence, Izard, Jackson, Lawrence, Madison, Marion, Mississippi, Montgomery, Newton, Ouachita, Perry, Poinsett, Prairie, Pulaski, Randolph, Saline, Washington, White, Woodruff and Yell.
A signed copy of the letter is attached. The following is full text of the delegation’s letter of support:
Dear Mr. President:
We are writing in support of Governor Asa Hutchinson’s request for a major disaster declaration for the following counties and cities in the State of Arkansas: Baxter, Benton, Boone, Carroll, Clay, Cleburne, Conway, Craighead, Cross, Faulkner, Fulton, Independence, Izard, Jackson, Lawrence, Madison, Marion, Mississippi, Montgomery, Newton, Ouachita, Perry, Poinsett, Prairie, Pulaski, Randolph, Saline, Washington, White, Woodruff, Yell counties; and Hazard Mitigation statewide.
Since April 26, 2017, and through May 19, 2017, the State of Arkansas has experienced a continuing pattern of uncontrollable flooding resulting in severe damages to hundreds of homes across the state. Unfortunately, as a result of these storms, the state has suffered ten fatalities and the displacement of many residents to shelters across the state. As we see in many crises, people have come to the aid of their neighbors; however, the extent of the damage has overwhelmingly surpassed the state government’s ability to respond.
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), implemented by 44 CFR § 206.36, we ask that Arkansas receive a major disaster declaration for these counties due to the damages assessed. We urge the approval of Public Assistance (Categories A - G), Individual Assistance (IA), including the Individuals and Households Program (IHP), temporary housing which may include manufactured housing (mobile homes, park models, etc.), Disaster Unemployment Assistance, Disaster Case Management, Disaster Legal Services, Crisis Counseling, Small Business Administration disaster loans, and Hazard Mitigation Statewide.
As you know, the State of Arkansas and our communities are working tirelessly to assist citizens in the process of cleaning up and ultimately rebuilding. Resources at the state and local level, including the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, Arkansas National Guard, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, Arkansas Forestry Commissions, and the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department, are being fully utilized, but greater federal assistance is needed to help our communities recover. Arkansas is a predominantly rural state and this most recent series of disasters has exceeded the ability of our local governments to respond. The past several years and recent months have been particularly difficult for Arkansas residents due to numerous severe weather events. The State of Arkansas has endured nine state disasters and three federally declared disasters since the beginning of 2015. The assistance received as a result of earlier federal disaster and emergency declarations has been vital, and many of the same communities are still in the recovery process from these earlier disasters. We hope that a similar response will follow this emergent situation.
Mr. President, we thank you for your attention to this matter and urge your swift consideration and approval of the state’s request. If you have any questions or need additional information, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Congressman Steve Womack has represented Arkansas’s Third Congressional District since 2011 and serves on the House Appropriations Defense, Military Construction-Veterans Affairs, and Labor-Health and Human Services subcommittees and the House Committee on the Budget.