New York Daily News(TNS)
President Biden on Sunday declared a major disaster in Arkansas and approved federal aid for the state following a series of deadly tornadoes that rocked the Midwest and South.
Biden’s declaration came two days after severe storms devastated Arkansas cities including Wynne, where at least four people died, and the state capital of Little Rock. Overall, at least five people died in the state, officials said.
“The President’s action makes Federal funding available to affected individuals in the counties of Cross, Lonoke and Pulaski,” the White House said in an announcement Sunday. “Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.”
At least 10 states suffered damage from suspected tornadoes, with 32 deaths reported. At least nine of the deaths came in McNairy County, Tenn., while Illinois and Indiana also suffered multiple fatalities, officials said.
“While we are still assessing the full extent of the damage, we know families across America are mourning the loss of loved ones, desperately waiting for news of others fighting for their lives, and sorting through the rubble of their homes and businesses,” Biden said Sunday.
A high school building in Wynne lost its roof and windows, while homes and businesses in the 8,000-person city suffered similar damage. Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders declared a state of emergency on Friday and activated the National Guard to assist in the recovery efforts.
“Our message and our mission are really simple: the people will come first and the paperwork will come second,” Sanders tweeted. “We will ensure that every Arkansan who needs help receives it.”
Reports of tornadoes in New Jersey and Delaware were also being looked into Sunday by the National Weather Service. Delaware State Police reported one death on Saturday night.
Last week, Biden declared an emergency in Mississippi making federal aid available for multiple counties following a tornado that caused widespread damage and killed more than 20 people.
With News Wire Services