Arkansas and Oklahoma Floods Emergency Response

On Saturday June 22, 2019 UMR Emergency Response Coordinator and UMR Chapters Coordinator deployed to Arkansas along the border of Oklahoma in Fort Smith, Arkansas (Sebastian County). The most hard-hit areas of the state of Arkansas were in Fort Smith, Arkansas and then across the state line border of the state into Oklahoma into Seqoyah County.

Sunday June 23, 2019 both UMR Emergency Response Coordinator and UMR Chapters Coordinator visited a tornado storms and flood survivor identified through Crisis Clean-up in Fort Smith who suffered severe flooding at her residence. Ruth, a mother of four who is a house owner, was out of work for two weeks due to the flooding. She received a UMR disaster clean up kit, $200 cash card and direct help with an appeal for FEMA, SBA, a hazard mitigation grant information.

Monday June 24, 2019 The UMR team met with FEMA Disability Integration Advisor for Region VI in Little Rock Arkansas and discussed Disaster Survivor Assistance DSA, Arkansas Mass Care, and assisting with unmet needs of recipients in Arkansas. The UMR Chapters Coordinator received a crash course on DSA as both UMR Emergency Response Coordinator and UMR Chapters Coordinator use DSA as a template to access the needs of the tornado storms and flood survivors.

Tuesday June 25, 2019 the UMR team traveled to Moffet and Spiro, Oklahoma Seqoyah County and connected with Eight Days of Hope (a nonprofit organization that has been leading the way in gutting out homes that have been flooded). One household that they helped, UMR was able to follow up with and give a $200 cash card for food and transportation expenses, and set up assistance to replace a bed that was destroyed in the flood. Two additional families who were renting their homes were also identified through Crisis Clean-up, and given assistance with FEMA registration, provided $200 cash cards each for moving expenses, and furniture replacement. These three households in Oklahoma were all covered in over 10-15 feet of water and the homes were completely destroyed.

On Tuesday June 25, 2019, the UMR Emergency Response Coordinator and UMR Chapters Coordinator also met with The Disaster Emergency Team in Fort Smith, Arkansas to identify more unmet needs and arrange for a donation drop tomorrow at the United Way donation hub in Fort Smith, Arkansas that provides supplies, food, and resources to those in Fort Smith, Arkansas and nearby Oklahoma communities. UMR also met with Arkansas Department of Human Health Services to see if they had any families needing additional help getting food.

On Wednesday June 26, 2019 Robert (Ruth’s neighbor), is a retired husband and grandfather whose house suffered flood damage as well also received $200 cash card and direct help with an appeal for FEMA, SBA, an hazard mitigation grant information. The UMR team met with Sebastian County Emergency Management Director and delivered food, hygiene supplies, and special flood survival baskets for three families to the United Way donation hub in Fort Smith, Arkansas.

On June 27, 2019 follow up calls to tornado storms and flood survivors Paula, Raquia, and Ruth were made by the UMR Emergency Response Coordinator to secure their additional needs that could not be met in one day and required more research and follow-up with FEMA. UMR Emergency Response Coordinator, called contacts in FEMA in Oklahoma and got Paula and Raquia’s FEMA applications fast tracked to get them resources. Raquia lived in Oklahoma and was renting her place.  UMR Emergency Response Coordinator contacted FEMA Disability Integration Advisor in Oklahoma and the Oklahoma Finance and Housing Agency to help Raquia with rental and housing assistance.  For Paula, who owned a house in Spiro, Oklahoma UMR Emergency Response Coordinator, called FEMA Disability Integration Advisor in Oklahoma to assist Paula with her disabled nephew and getting her house inspected for housing assistance. Paula was also connected with Afermath Contractors to get a free inspection and estimate for repairs for her home. The UMR Emergency Response Coordinator contacted FEMA Disability Integration Advisor in Arkansas to follow up with Ruth mother of four who owned a home in Fort Smith, Arkansas and before speaking to UMR had her FEMA application denied. UMR Emergency Response Coordinator was able to help Ruth get an appeal for FEMA assistance and connected with SBA for a disaster housing Loan and hazard mitigation grant.

In total eight families were directly assisted during the deployment and about 20 families were given donations from UMR via the United Way donation hub. About $2,500 of aid, furniture, food, supplies, and toys was given out, two new community partners engaged, two local government agencies engaged, and federal agency partnership with FEMA.