FEMA has released the following statement:
PRESIDENT DECLARES MAJOR DISASTER FOR ARKANSAS
WASHINGTON - The head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) today announced that federal disaster aid has been made available for the State of Arkansas and ordered Federal aid to supplement State and local recovery efforts in the area struck by a severe winter storm beginning on January 26, 2009, and continuing.
Acting FEMA Administrator Nancy Ward said federal funding is available to State and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by the severe winter storm in the counties of Baxter, Benton, Boone, Carroll, Clay, Craighead, Franklin, Fulton, Greene, Independence, Izard, Jackson, Johnson, Lawrence, Madison, Marion, Mississippi, Newton, Searcy, Sharp, Stone, Van Buren, and Washington.
Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures for all counties within the state.
W. Michael Moore has been named the federal coordinating officer for federal recovery operations in the affected area. Moore said additional designations may be made at a later date if requested by the state and warranted by the results of further damage assessments.
FEMA leads and supports the nation in a risk-based, comprehensive emergency management system of preparedness, protection, response, recovery, and mitigation, to reduce the loss of life and property and protect the nation from all hazards including natural disasters, acts of terrorism, and other man-made disasters.
Following the declaration, Governor Beebe's office followed up with this statement:
LITTLE ROCK - Governor Mike Beebe received word Friday afternoon that President Obama has granted his request for a major disaster declaration in Arkansas counties hit hard by last week's ice storm.
The 23 counties covered by the federal declaration include Baxter, Benton, Boone, Carroll, Clay, Craighead, Franklin, Fulton, Greene, Independence, Izard, Jackson, Johnson, Lawrence, Madison, Marion, Mississippi, Newton, Searcy, Sharp, Stone, Van Buren and Washington. Conway and Cross Counties were included in Governor Beebe's request but did not meet the requirements to be included in the federal declaration. Additional counties will be added to the State's request as damage assessments continue.
"I again thank President Obama and federal authorities for their rapid consideration of our request," Governor Beebe said. "Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano called me this morning to touch base regarding FEMA's response in Arkansas and to offer her assistance in the final approval of our request."
The declaration brings with it federal assistance to cover 75 percent of the damages to public infrastructure in the affected counties, including utility systems, roads and bridges, water-control facilities and debris removal.