Federal Disaster Relief On The Way From December Flooding

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SILOAM SPRINGS (KFSM) - Several Arkansas communities could see disaster relief aid after severe flooding in parts of the state last December.

President Barack Obama approved Governor Hutchinson's request for a major disaster declaration on Friday (Feb. 5).

Federal assistance, including grant-funding, will be made available to people living in Benton, Crawford and Sebastian Counties, according to a Federal Emergency Management Agency press release.

Siloam Springs resident Bill Underwood returned to his home on Arkansas Highway 59 after the Illinois River flooded his property in late December.

"It took about a month to get everything shaped up in here, and I've been concentrating on this so I can have a place to live; then I got to start on the river," said Underwood. "I still have a shop out there I have to do."

The 82-year-old man spent the month of January making renovations to the home that he's lived in for more than 20 years. He prepared for the flooding after he experienced the damage left behind during the floods of 2011.

"It was about the same thing, but I saved more stuff," said Underwood. "Last time I left my tractor and lawnmowers and everything else. I got them out of here."

Mike Dixon, director of Benton Counties Emergency Management Agency, said his office is working with FEMA to provide residents with ways to apply for assistance.

"Those who are eligible will be able to receive some assistance in many different forms and factors for the damages that they sustained," said Dixon.

Rough estimates by the agency put public assistance disaster totals around $2 million, but that could change, Dixon said.