FEMA Disaster Recovery Center offering help for December tornado survivors in Arkansas

TRUMANN, Ark. — Hundreds hit by December’s tornado outbreak are still recovering, more than a month later. This week, three FEMA disaster centers are opening in Arkansas, providing a one stop shop for the many who still need help.

“We had several survivors come in and looking at their registration information saw the inspectors deemed the homes unlivable or destroyed,” said Bob Rolf, manager of the FEMA Disaster Recovery Center in Trumann. “So, a fair amount of damage in the community. And that’s why we’re here.”

Trumann Mayor Barbara Lewallen tells FOX13 The December 10th tornado affected 243 properties in Poinsett County. Among them, 85 homes sustained major damage, and 73 homes were destroyed.

“My fence was torn down and my roof and my ceiling was cracked,” said Trumann resident Carol Armstrong. “I have friends that have lost their house, they have lost everything. But FEMA and these other Christian organizations they have all been there to help.”

Armstrong is among the more than two dozen survivors who’d visited the center in Trumann since it opened Tuesday morning. She says her experience with the team inside was fast and pleasant.

“They are very courteous people and helpful, and really heartwarming,” said Armstrong. “It’s not just FEMA. They offered me food, finding medical that I can’t afford.”

In addition to FEMA, the Small Business Administration, and several local organizations and non-profits are on site ready to assist. That’s why organizers want anyone impacted to stop by.

“We encourage everyone to come and register with FEMA,” said Rolf. “Even if you’ve got homeowner insurance there may be some shortcomings or something maybe develops so it’s really important to come and register. We are all here for the community so whatever needs anyone has, please come in we will get them an answer.”

The FEMA Disaster Center in Trumann is located at the Parkview Baptist Church annex building. It’s open Monday-Saturday, from 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. Another center opened in Monette Wednesday, and a third will open in Newport Thursday.