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ICYMI: Arkansas Delegation Supports Governor’s Request for Major Disaster Declaration

Washington, DC—December 21, 2021….U.S. Senators John Boozman and Tom Cotton—along with Congressmen Rick Crawford, French Hill, Steve Womack, and Bruce Westerman—wrote to President Joe Biden urging him to support Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson’s request for a major disaster declaration for Craighead, Jackson, Mississippi, Poinsett, and Woodruff Counties due to extensive tornado damage on December 10, 2021.

In part, the members wrote, “The resourcefulness and resilience of Arkansans in recent months has been impressive, however, as losses mount, the people of our great state hope the federal government will join in these restoration efforts. Federal government resources are critical in the immediate 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.”

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 tornadoes which occurred on December 10, 2021.  

As Governor Hutchinson noted in his request, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, an estimated cost of $3,056,068.68 is needed to cover the cost of temporary housing, repair, and replacement housing, as well as provide for other needs required by the citizens of these communities.

Preliminary damage estimates show a major impact to local jurisdictions in Craighead, Jackson, Mississippi, Poinsett, and Woodruff Counties. These local burdens are coupled with hazard mitigation issues statewide.

The impact to local jurisdictions is staggering and cannot be overlooked. For example, preliminary damage estimates show Poinsett County sustained major damages with 72 homes destroyed. In total, 256 homes sustained major damage or were destroyed across the five counties. 

Simply put, we believe the severe magnitude of these weather events warrant supplemental federal assistance. The above-mentioned counties have seen homes, businesses, and important infrastructure severely damaged.

Unfortunately, Arkansas was in the midst of recovering from multiple disasters during this recent event. Since January 2019, the state of Arkansas has had 12 gubernatorial declared disasters and 5 federally declared disasters. The total damages caused by these 17 events are currently estimated at $184 million.

The resourcefulness and resilience of Arkansans in recent months has been impressive, however, as losses mount, the people of our great state hope the federal government will join in these restoration efforts. Federal government resources are critical in the immediate 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 consideration 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.

Congressman Steve Womack (AR-3) has represented Arkansas’s Third Congressional District since 2011. He is a member of the House Appropriations Committee.

womack.house.gov

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