Biden OKs request for 100% cost coverage for Arkansas storm cleanup
An overturned truck sits among the wreckage of homes on Shackleford Road. A tornado destroyed or damaged hundreds of home, businesses and vehicles in west Little Rock Friday afternoon, March 31, 2023. (John Sykes/Arkansas Advocate)
President Joe Biden on Saturday authorized an increase in the level of federal disaster response funds to 100% of the costs for debris removal and emergency protection stemming from the March 31 tornadoes that hit central Arkansas.
Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders had requested the increase on Tuesday after touring damaged areas of Pulaski, Lonoke and Cross counties.
“It’s clear that the cost to clean up the damage those storms created will be substantial,” she said Tuesday.
Before Biden’s authorization, federal funding covered 75% of eligible costs.
The March 31 storms and tornadoes caused widespread damage across Arkansas and resulted in at least five deaths, one of them in North Little Rock. Four of the deaths occurred in Wynne, where the high school and the municipal sewage plant sustained significant damage, according to city officials.
Blake Marotti, general manager of Wynne Water Utilities, described the sewage treatment plant as a total loss. In a statement posted on the utilities’ website, he said the city is diverting wastewater to a holding pond and transporting it by tanker trucks to a nearby treatment plant.
All wastewater pumping stations remained operational, he said, to avoid the threat of sewage backups into homes and businesses.
The city’s water treatment plant was not damaged during the storm, he said.
Cleanup efforts continued throughout the week as truckloads of debris were hauled to Reservoir Park in Little Rock and Burns Park in North Little Rock. Both parks lost dozens of trees in the EF3 tornado that tore a 32-mile-long path through west Little Rock, North Little Rock, Jacksonville and Lonoke. The separate Wynne tornado was also classified an EF3 storm.
Pulaski County government provided an updated list of disaster assistance on its website on Friday.
Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.