Pulaski, Randolph and White counties were declared federal disaster areas on Monday, eight days after an EF4 tornado killed at least 16 people in Central Arkansas.
The declaration expands on a federal disaster declaration that the Obama administration issued for Faulkner two days after the tornado.
Residents of all four counties can now apply for assistance to cover the costs of temporary housing, home repairs and replacement, housing construction, transportation, food commodities and coupons, crisis counseling, disaster unemployment assistance, legal services, Small Business Administration low-interest loans and medical, dental, and funeral expenses.
Gov. Mike Beebe had asked that the declaration be expanded to include Pulaski, White, Randolph and Independence counties.
All six members of Arkansas’ congressional stated in a joint news release Monday that they applaud the decision to expand the disaster declaration.
The White House announced over the weekend that President Barack Obama will make his first visit to Arkansas as president on Wednesday to view tornado-damaged areas and meet with affected families, first responders and recovery workers.
The announcement came after Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate visited Central Arkansas on April 28 and U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson toured damaged areas with former President Bill Clinton on Sunday.
Beebe said Monday the federal government had done “a pretty good job to this point” in its response to the disaster.
“The Faulkner County thing was so evident from just an initial look at it that they were able to give me an oral affirmation the next day, on Monday. That’s an exception, not the rule,” he said.