Major Disaster Declaration For State of Arkansas Could Help Fund Flood Clean Up

FORT SMITH, Ark. -- Now that flood waters have begun receeding, home and business owners can look forward to the president's recently-approved major disaster declaration for extra funding for clean up.

"It's hard to go about your every day not having to worry about something and then it's on your doorstep in a matter of days," said Landon Turner, whose family home flooded.

Turner traveled back to Little Rock this week to help his parents clean their home, which was filled with water until just days ago. He said his parents have flood insurance, but he knows others aren't in the same position.

"My heart really goes out to those who don't have insurance because... people didn't think [the historic flood] was going to affect them and it got into those houses that weren't prepared," he said.

Governor Asa Hutchinson announced today (June 8) that President Trump approved a major disaster declaration in the state of Arkansas that he had applied for Friday (June 7). With the declaration, federal funding will soon be available for people in the River Valley whose homes or businesses were devastated by flood waters.

FEMA will be handing out funding when it becomes available.

Turner said the declaration could be a saving grace for some who would otherwise be left with nothing.

"Every little penny will help, so I think that it's a godsend to those that were worried they weren't going to have any assistance," he said.

Gage Griffin, a Fort Smith native, said he can't imagine what the rebuilding process will be like.

"Some people have lost everything because some of these people were completely under water," Griffin said. "So seeing that is really heartbreaking because they have to start all over, you know, with the house that they have been in for years."

Turner said that while he's thankful for the approved declaration, what he and his community needs now more than anything is help to pick up the pieces.

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