President Donald Trump has approved Gov. Asa Hutchinson's request for federal assistance during the 2019 Historic Arkansas River Flood event.
Trump signed the emergency declaration one day after receiving the request, approving aide for 16 affected counties:
this move allows the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to coordinate all disaster relief efforts. The two agencies "have the purpose of alleviating the hardship and suffering caused by the emergency on the local population, and to provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures," according to a White House release regarding Trump's emergency relief declaration.
The two entities will work "to save lives and to protect property and public health and safety, and to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe" in each of the affected counties.
Hutchinson, who has set aside $350,000 of state funds to cover relief assistance, said he was grateful for the president's quick response.
"President Trump responded quickly to the request for emergency federal assistance," the Arkansas governor said Friday. "This is far from over, and the President's declaration last night of his continuing support for direct federal assistance in 16 counties will help us to minimize the loss. I am grateful for his concern, which he has expressed through federal aid."
On a local level, numerous streets and other roadways have been shut down to ensure the public's safety.
A current list of closures includes:
Highway 25 from West Cadron Ridge Road to Beaverfork Road.
Hensley Lane, located in the Harve Township in Holland.
Burgess Lane, located just outside of Wooster.
Bayou Road in Vilonia.
Glover Road in Holland.
Hwy 60 at Toad Suck Lock & Dam.
Woodward Road, located just outside of Wooster.
Luker Lane in Mayflower.
Sand Gap Road, located in the Benedict Township in Mayflower.
Jones Lane, located in the Benedict Township in Mayflower.
The Easterwood Point and Lollie road intersection.
The Easterwood Point Road and Highway 89 intersection.
James Road in the Cadron Township.
Grassy Lake Road in Mayflower.
Shaw Bridge Road in Wooster.
Red Oak Drive, located in the Benedict Township in Mayflower.
Old Sandy Road in Mayflower.
South Faulkner Meadows Road in Mayflower.
Highway 89 North at Winter Creek Road. If you live in this area, sheriff's officials said to take Rocky Gap Road instead.
Sheriff Tim Ryals said that while not every lcoation with water over the roadway has been closed, the sheriff's office is setting up barricades across the county.
"We have barricades throughout the county," he said. "If you see a barricade, please we're asking that you turn the other direction."
A Red Cross emergency shelter is available for those affected by the rising flood waters.
The shelter is set up at the Don Owen Sports Center in Conway and can house 300. As of Thursday evening, 16 Faulkner County residents sought shelter at the center.
Other centers have opened in Fort Smith, Dardanelle and Pine Bluff. Seventy Arkansans stayed at the Fort Smith shelter Thursday night and six stayed at the Dardanelle facility.
Those who seek shelter via the red cross are asked to bring with them clothing, bedding, toiletries, medications and children's toys. Meals are served three times a day to those in need at the shelters.
Those wishing to make a $10 donation during the historic flooding event can text REDCROSS to 90999. Those wishing to volunteer with the Red Cross can contact organizers at www.redcross.org.
The Arkansas River at the Toad Suck Lock and Dam is expected to crest at 286 feet on Monday.
"This is the worst flooding in recorded history on the Arkansas River," Faulkner County Office of Emergency Management officials said. "Residents are encouraged to take actions now [and] voluntary evacuations are strongly recommended."
Residents have expressed concerns regarding their fear that flood waters will breach the Lollie Levee.
Authorities closed Lollie Road to thru traffic so that officials could continue to monitor the water levels at the levee. As of Friday, officials still believed it was holding as it was meant to, despite local rumors.
After learning flooding predictions in the area had increased, Conway Mayor Bart Castleberry and Ryals stopped by the Lollie Levee.
Water levels are around 6-feet from the top of the levee, whcih Castleberry said is a good sign.
"Our main concern is the amount of water that will remain behind the level for an extended period of time," he said while also assuring area residents that the levee is being monitored 24/7.
There is also an emergency animal shelter near the Red cross shelter. This is the first time a shelter has been established for animals in the county. The emergency shelter is headed by the Faulkner County Animal Response Team and stationed at the Faulkner County Rodeo Arena at 10 Lower Ridge Road in Conway.
There also are 46 available RV plots at the Conway Expo and Event Center for people who need a place to stay in their RVs.
City officials said electricity and water will be provided at the center at no cost.
To reserve a spot, call 501-327-2532 or send an email to either firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Conway Department of Sanitation Administrative Assistant Mandy Cates said the landfill, customer convenience area and yard waste facility is still closed because of flooding in the city.
“Residential, commercial, and industrial collections of trash and recyclables will continue as regularly scheduled,” she said via news release Wednesday. “Collection of yard waste has been suspended until internal road conditions improve. We ask that residents put their carts out to the curb on their regular collection day and leave them at the curb until [trash is] collected.”