Volunteers continue to help those in need in response to the Feb. 5 tornado, according to Izard County Judge Rayburn Finley.
"I am grateful to live in a county with such a caring and helpful people," Finley said.
A disaster center has been set up at the Izard County Fairgrounds and people having a need are invited and encouraged to visit the center. Food, water, bedding and clothes are among the many items available to those having a need, according to Finley.
In addition to the many local donations, donations have been made from people throughout Arkansas.
Finley said, three tractor-trailer loads of supplies from the Jonesboro area arrived at the center on Saturday following Friday's donation of five pickup truck and trailer loads.
These supplies were the result of the efforts of KAIT Channel 8 and radio stations The Fox, The Mix, and The Eagle in Jonesboro.
According to radio station representative Paul Carter, $20,000 has been donated to the American Red Cross and the money has been designated to assist tornado victims in Izard, Stone and Sharp counties. The American Red Cross is set up at the center.
Zion Fire Chief Keith Brown expressed his grateful appreciation to everyone who came in response to the recent tornados as well. "The response could not have been any better. Not only did the people of the Zion area respond but so did people from all over Izard County and other counties in Arkansas," Brown said.
"Many people brought needed items for the victims and continue to do so. Some have brought equipment such as tractors, chain saws and other much needed equipment," he said.
Brown said that not only is the community working well together as a great team in this time of need but people from outside the community as well. "The Zion Baptist Church is still providing hot meals," he said.
According to Finley, a pre-assessment of the damage was completed Thursday by his office of Emergency Services and the Izard County Sheriff's Department in preparation for FEMA and Arkansas Department of Emergency Management's visit on Friday. Finely said that the assessment review conducted Friday night indicated that 45 homes were destroyed or suffered damage and that 49 homes were classified as having minor damage.
Additionally, eight businesses were classified as having major damage and one classified as having minor damage. One non-profit entity was classified as having major damage and one classified as having minor damage, Finley said.
The assessment of the areas was necessary for a presidential disaster declaration, which has been made. Finley said he was hopeful that all eight categories of assistance including individual assistance for primary residences would be awarded by FEMA. FEMA mobile homes have been requested as well.
According to Finley, individuals should take pictures before and after the clean up and keep invoices of material and hired labor for possible reimbursement. "It is very likely that out of county contractors will be in the area and unfortunately some of these people may not be credible," Finely said. "Use caution when dealing with people unknown to you."
Finley said that three debris burn sites have been established in the county. The sites will be operational during periods of daylight. Sites will be located off County Road 69 west of County Road 61, off Lacrosse Road south of the quarry and County Road 118 in the Rose Trail community.
Loading equipment and county dump trucks are available and will be used to load and haul the debris to the burn sites.
Finley said his office is currently staffed seven days a week and will continue to be until the cleanup and assistance efforts are complete.
Additional phone lines have been established in the judges office with the following phone numbers: 870-421-5940, 870-421-5942, 870-421-5941. The Izard County Judge's Office will provide all the assistance possible, Finley said.