OEM Director explains what victims can expect from disaster aid

Flood assistance hotline opens
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Help is on the way for victims of flooding in Craighead County, but Office of Emergency Management Director David Moore warns that victims likely won't get as much money as they're expecting.

"At the state level, we're working on a very tight budget so the state has to try and make it go as far as possible," Moore said.

Governor Asa Hutchinson declared Craighead County a disaster area June 11.

"These people are out of their houses and some of them may never get to return to their houses according to how much damage it is," Moore said. "We've got people out there that's lost everything they've had for their entire life."

The Arkansas Department of Emergency Management will open a call center for victims of the flood Thursday, June 16.

Moore said that information victims provide will then be passed onto his office.

"Then one of my people are going to make contact with you, come out and do the official inspection assessment of the structure according to the forms," Moore said.

That information is then sent back to ADEM.

"Then they've got to do the final determination and process it out," Moore said. "There's different levels, whether it's fully destroyed, partially destroyed, lightly damaged or affected. If they consider it affected, there is no help with those."

Moore said after that, it will likely take a week or two before a victim receives disaster assistance.

Every other level of damage has a specific amount of money associated with it. However, Moore said victims need to be aware that the state can only help so much.

"They're not going to allow everything. The allowable damages, you're going to get 35 cents on the dollar at best," Moore said. "There's a cap on how much money so once you hit that cap, that's all that they have available. At the state level, we don't have the resources like if it had been a federal disaster and FEMA. There's a lot more dollars that can come in under one of them."

Moore said he does believe many of the victims will qualify for the maximum amount of money.

"In our pre-damage assessment, we went around and there's a lot of them that had major damage," Moore said. "But there were some areas that you could tell it was water damage so they're going to have moderate to light damage."

According to ADEM, categories of assistance may include home repair assistance, personal property assistance and primary transportation repair and/or replacement assistance.

However, Moore said to see if you qualify for money, you have to initiate the process by contacting the Call Center.

They'll be open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. every business day starting June 16 until Wednesday, June 29.

When you call, you need to have the following information ready:

• Primary homeowner's and renter's information

• Damage address, phone number, email address

• Social Security number

• Detailed damage description

You can apply online at www.adem.arkansas.gov or call the assistance hotline at 1-888-683-2336.

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