Voluntary evacuation issued for residents in Payneway

PAYNEWAY, AR (KAIT) - Poinsett County Judge Charles Nix told Region 8 News Saturday morning sheriff's deputies and the Arkansas National Guard have issued a voluntary evacuation of properties in Payneway.

According to Nix, the still water is becoming contaminated with waste as the water from the St. Francis River floodway continues to flow north from the end of the levee in Cross County.

Poinsett County Sheriff's deputies went door to door in the small town throughout the day Saturday, making residents aware of the situation. Since Sunday, May 8th, residents and volunteers in multiple communities have been filling tens of thousands of sandbags in an effort to protect a church and homes. Nix said anyone wanting sandbags for their residence in Payneway can do so by contacting emergency operations at the Corners Chapel Baptist Church.

Nix also said he's grateful for the support of residents outside of Payneway. He said many people have brought bottled water and food for volunteers; however, people are now being asked to stop bringing food and water as people have enough for now.

Residents have started collecting donations for flood relief at the Corners Chapel Baptist Church.

Copyright 2011 KAIT. All rights reserved.

PAYNEWAY, AR (KAIT) - Hundreds of volunteers flooded into Payneway Friday to help keep the rising water from hurting anymore residents. Many homes already had water up to the bottom to the front door. Volunteered jumped onto trailers to stack more sandbags where water had already started to seep through.

"I've been out here three days helping to put out sandbag. I heard that they were repairing two levees earlier. They were designating sand trucks to them, but a levee can only hold so much water," said volunteer Nikki Haughey.

Some just felt like it was there duty to come provide a helping hand. "It's devastating. My daughter lives just a few miles from here, and water's headed her way. It just brought me out to my community. It was in my heart to come out and help. If I can help a little, that's what I want to do," Paula Wright. She says seeing the devastation of the flood waters is a tough sight to swallow. " I've lived in Florida and hurricanes. I've still never seen this in my life ever. It's brought people together in this community. It's both a loss and a blessing at the same time," said Wright.

One area of focus, was to place sandbags around the town's water well. "We have to make sure we go plenty high and plenty wide. It's very important to keep the water out of here, because if water gets in here then no one has fresh water or drinking water," said volunteer Scott Johnson.

And with all the bacteria and debris in the water, the Arkansas Heath Department was on hand giving out tetanus shots to those volunteering their time.

The Red Cross was also out helping to provide food, shelter, and necessities to those in need. Volunteers have spent the past several days placing sandbags up into the early morning hours, and will continue throughout the weekend. Citizens ask anyone interested in helping to go to the Corner Chapel Baptist Church at 6976 First Ln, Trumann, AR.

Copyright 2011 KAIT. All rights reserved.