President Barack Obama will be in Arkansas next week to visit the communities hit by Sunday’s deadly tornado.
Senator Mark Pryor’s office announced on Saturday (May 3) that the President accepted the Senator’s invitation to visit areas devastated by the EF-4 tornado.
The White House announced the visit will take place on Wednesday, May 7th. Senator Pryor said he’s pleased the President can come see the affected areas for himself.
“Since the tornadoes tore through our state this week, we’ve seen folks come together to help those affected get back on their feet,” Pryor said. “We have disaster relief funding headed our way, but there’s more we can do to give Arkansans the help they need. I’m pleased the President is headed to Arkansas and can see the devastation firsthand. It’ll be a long road to recovery, but we’ll continue to do everything we can to help our neighbors in need.”
The President signed a disaster declaration for Faulkner County on Tuesday. Vilonia and Mayflower were the hardest hit areas, and fifteen people in Central Arkansas were killed by the storm.
The full text of Pryor’s letter to the President is below:
I write to invite you to travel to the Arkansas communities devastated by this week’s deadly tornadoes.
As you know, my state was recently hit by a series of tornadoes. On Sunday, April 27, 2014, storms tore through large swaths of central Arkansas including Ferndale, Mayflower, Saltillo, Vilonia, El Paso, Center Hill, Step Rock, Denmark, Velvet Ridge, Thida, and Pleasant Plains. To date, 15 lives have been lost, over 150 Arkansans injured, 264 homes destroyed with many more left uninhabitable, numerous businesses have been damaged, and countless families’ belongings strewn for miles and miles.
The last few years have been particularly difficult for our state. We’ve faced dozens of damaging weather events, ranging from tornadoes to ice storms to drought. In fact, some of the communities hit by last week’s storms had just finished rebuilding from a tornado three years ago.
The people of Arkansas are resilient. We’re working tirelessly to begin the process of cleaning up, rebuilding, and getting families back on their feet. It will be a long process, and I know Arkansas would benefit enormously from both private sector and federal assistance. As we see in many crises, Arkansans have come to the aid of their neighbors, family, and friends. Church groups, the American Red Cross, and numerous local and state businesses have come together to help those in need. However, expedited assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Small Business Administration, and other government agencies will be essential as we work to reconstruct the devastated areas of our state.
Your assistance in expediting all necessary aid is crucial to the affected families and communities, and I hope you will be able to join me in Arkansas to witness firsthand not only the damage to our communities but also the resilience, selflessness, and determination of our citizens. I appreciate your consideration of my request.