JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ark. – Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders requested a major disaster declaration from President Joe Biden to help those living in more than a dozen counties in Arkansas recover from severe weather.
Sanders mentions 13 Arkansas counties hit hard by the winter storms: Bradley, Calhoun, Cleveland, Dallas, Desha, Drew, Grant, Jefferson, Lincoln, Nevada, Ouachita, Searcy, and Stone Counties.
In the governor’s statement, she said they’ve determined that the storms in January and February were so severe that an effective response is beyond the capabilities of the State and affected local governments, and that supplementary federal assistance is necessary.
The Arkansas Department of Emergency Management said the request is for public assistance which deals with infrastructure. More specifically, this would help supplement the cost of debris removal and repairing damage to utilities.
Jefferson County Judge Gerald Robinson said if the Biden Administration approves the governor’s request FEMA would be involved.
Jefferson County Sheriff Lafayette Woods says he is happy the Governor made this request and believes it could help the entire community.
“There’s an overwhelming amount of debris just from the ice that accumulated on some of the trees,” Woods said.
Woods said the debris and damage by the winter storms caused issues they’re still dealing with.
“We were devastated with some of the damage it caused, disruption of everyday life, impassable roads closed as a result of debris,” Woods said.
Pine Bluff homeowner Tonya Burks-Woods said the severe winter storms caused her power to go out for several days and her family still has a ton of debris from tree limbs on their property. She said Jefferson County needs all the help it can get.