JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Victims of recent flooding in Craighead County are closer to getting help from the state.
A press conference took place in the Jonesboro Municipal Building on Monday to update the community on the progress.
Interim Chief Operations Officer Roy Ockert said once Governor Hutchinson declared Craighead County a disaster area Saturday things began to happen.
"The state of emergency will make Jonesboro eligible for two forms of assistance," Ockert said. "One is individual assistance. That can go to people who suffered damages to their property or who were dislodged from their houses and so forth. There will be an application process for that. The state will first set up call banks. We think that may be done by this week. Maybe by Wednesday so that people can call in and get information about what needs to be done."
The other form of assistance is for agencies.
"The other type of assistance is public," Ockert said. "It will go to agencies like Nettleton Schools which had damage to its gym. They will be able to apply for that. The city may be able to recover some of its cost in responding to the disaster. We had a lot of people out that night and paid a lot of overtime. And so, some of that we incurred during that first 72 hours after the disaster may be recovered through this program."
Ockert said once the state has set up call banks, an office will be set up to help with the paperwork.
"The Mayor has offered space in the Municipal Building if the county doesn't have space available," Ockert said. "So, the people will come here and file their applications."
Until the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management is done processing the requests, Region 8 residents won't know what level of assistance they can get.
The first step for victims is a phone call.
Ockert said once the call bank has been set up, they'll get the number out for people to call.
"We will make that number available through all the local media," Ockert said. "It'll be on our city media website, Facebook page, just where ever we can get it up and available. As soon as we have it, we'll get it out."
The city is also working on making sure this type of damage doesn't happen again.
"The city is already working on a lot of the problems that already existed or resulted from the flooding," Ockert said. "A lot of ditches that weren't blocked are now. So, we've got people working. But we are also seeking bids to get some private contractors into the operation and we'll have bids open on the 20th. Then we'll have more help to be able to do that sort of thing. We've also got some long term things that are in the process."
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