Waiting for Assistance

April 11, 2006--Posted at 4:00 p.m. CST

MARMADUKE, AR--A week after an F-3 tornado rolled through the town of Marmaduke the residents of the small town are still trying to rebound.

"The people are getting down.  If we can just get word that the trailers are coming, the mobile homes are coming, it will lift up the spirits of these people," said Marmaduke Police Chief Steve Franks.

Officials in Marmaduke, Greene County and the state of Arkansas have done everything to ensure the town will receive assistance from FEMA. The only thing holding up the process is President Bush waiting to make a federal disaster declaration.

"We are waiting on any moment to get that call from the President's office," said Greene County Judge Jesse Dollars.

And then it will be the green light to move between 50 and 300 mobile homes to the Marmaduke area from Hope. Mobile homes that would be staged at one of several areas, including the community center parking lot and where Smoot Mobile Homes was once located.

"People just wanting a place to live," said Franks, "A place where their kids can live."

In addition to the mobile homes, the town should also be in line to receive financial assistance. Money that Marmaduke desperately needs as organizations like the Salvation Army and American Red Cross plan to leave before the end of the week.

"Thursday at noon is going to be there last meal. They have spent somewhere around $250,000 and they have only got in $48,000," said Dollars.

Judge Dollars hopes to have the National Guard patrolling for at least another week to keep the streets safe. Looting has not been a problem, but several residents have been arrested after making fraudulent claims to receive money from the Red Cross.

"I will probably send an officer out there to check the residences and make sure it is damaged. If it is not, we will make an arrest on it," said Franks.

According to officials, around 600 Marmaduke residents are without homes. Marmaduke is still under a curfew which begins at 7 p.m. and goes till daylight until further notice.