A small American flag flutters in front of a home on Shackleford Road Monday afternoon, April 3, 2023. A tornado plowed through west Little Rock Friday afternoon, March 31, 2023, damaging hundreds of homes and businesses. (John Sykes/Arkansas Advocate)
Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders declared a state of emergency Monday in response to Sunday’s severe storms. Meanwhile, Arkansans recovering from the March 31 tornadoes have one week left to apply for federal aid.
Monday’s emergency declaration follows a pair of emergency orders Sanders issued last week related to the deadly March 31 tornadoes as well as another tornado and severe storms that hit western Arkansas this month.
The first proclamation declared a state of emergency as a result of recent storms that included an EF-2 tornado in Logan County.
The proclamation suspended some of the regulations that apply to commercial carriers to expedite the delivery of heavy equipment, transformers and other materials needed to address power outages.
The second executive order also suspended commercial carrier regulations related to the March 31 tornadoes that killed five people — one in North Little Rock and four in Wynne.
The suspension of the transportation regulations is necessary, according to Sanders, to allow the Federal Emergency Management Agency to import temporary housing structures for people who have been displaced.
Arkansans in Cross, Lonoke and Pulaski counties affected by severe storms and tornadoes on March 31 have two days left to apply for FEMA disaster assistance in person.
FEMA will permanently close its three remaining Arkansas Disaster Recovery Centers at 6 p.m. Wednesday, according to a press release. The centers, which are located at West Center Community Center and North Little Rock Community Center in Pulaski County, and The Bridge Church in Wynne, will be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Following the centers’ closure, Arkansans have until July 3 to apply for disaster assistance online or by calling 800-621-3362.
July 3 is also the final deadline to apply for a U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) low-interest disaster loan. Businesses and residents can apply at disasterloanassistance.sba.gov.
FEMA officials recommend filing a homeowners or renters insurance claim as soon as possible. If your policy does not cover all your damage expenses, you may then be eligible for federal assistance. FEMA cannot duplicate benefits for losses covered by insurance.
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