Beebe requests northern Arkansas federal disaster area designation: Damage estimates reach $5.6 million in region

Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Federal, state and local officials gather in Carroll County to survey the damage done by the Aug. 8 flooding.

LITTLE ROCK -- As a result of last week's FEMA visit to northern Arkansas, Gov. Mike Beebe has requested federal disaster assistance for six counties.

Beebe sent a letter to President Barack Obama on Tuesday requesting a federal disaster area declaration for Boone, Carroll, Madison, Marion and Newton counties.

The whole region was impacted by severe storms and flash floods on Aug. 8, leading Beebe to classify the six counties as state disaster areas on Aug. 16.t

The damage estimates done by FEMA and Arkansas Department of Emergency Management representatives total $5.6 million, most of which came from damage to roads and bridges, according to a release from the Governor's Office.

"(The federal disaster area designation) enables the counties to replace and repair their infrastructures because the costs are beyond their budgets," Arkansas Department of Emergency Management Northwest Area Coordinator Tim P. Gehring said.

Carroll County's damage estimate from the state and federal emergency management representatives, who surveyed the damage on Aug. 21, came in at $179,756, according to Gehring.

Both Gehring and Nick Samac of the Carroll County Department of Emergency Management cited damage to County Road 232 as some of the most extensive.

"The road is just gone," Samac said, adding a 120-foot stretch, going 11 feet deep, was completely washed out by the flood.

The $179,756 estimate is a drop-off from an early $500,000 estimate from Samac.

However, Gehring said the federal disaster area funds would cover the repair costs in the county even if they are over -- or under -- the $179,756 estimate.

Once Pres. Obama signs a letter declaring northern Arkansas a disaster area, 75 percent of the costs associated with repairing and replacing will be covered by the federal government. The remaining costs will be split evenly between the state and local government agencies at 12.5 percent each.

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