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Washington County Emergency Declaration issued to bring relief to Springdale tornado victims

Washington County Emergency Management issued a Declaration of Emergency in hopes of bringing relief to those impacted by the tornado.

SPRINGDALE, Ark. — Our local communities are working to clean up after an EF-3 tornado ripped through the area with many needing assistance to rebuild.

Wednesday morning, hours after storms and tornadoes hit Washington County Judge Joseph Wood issued a verbal emergency disaster proclamation. The verbal declaration is just acknowledging the damage.

However, many who are in the process of rebuilding are asking when financial relief from the state will come.

 Arkansas Department of Emergency Management Public Information Officer LaTresha Woodruff says that before the state can send any aid the county must first officially declare an Emergency Disaster.

While people are waiting on Washington County to officially declare an Emergency Disaster, Woodruff ask people to report their damage to the county.

“They need to start contacting their insurance companies to get that process started and also contact your local Emergency Manager or County judge to let them know that you have suffered some damage at your home,” Woodruff said. “So that they can start assessment process with the damage assessment process.”

That way Washington County can complete a damage assessment and file an official declaration with the state.

“We do anticipate that they will file an official declaration but in the interim, neighbors helping neighbors,” said Woodruff. “And local charities and organizations reaching out to help these folks in the interim.”

Once that happens, it’s the state's turn. They will look at the damage and cost to see if Washington County qualifies for disaster relief. There is a formula the state follows for counties to meet their requirement for relief. 

“It looks at the number of uninhabitable homes, the ones that are suffering or major damage or minor damage,” Woodruff said. “So, it’s very important for people who have any type of damage to their homes to actually report that damage.”

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