Gov. Mike Beebe issued the following statement earlier today:
Although this decision by FEMA to deny emergency funds to Desha County defies common sense, Arkansas will take care of its own people. It is unfortunate that assistance will now depend on additional state resources instead of federal disaster programs that Arkansas taxpayers helped fund.
We are deciding whether to appeal FEMA’s decision, but that will not slow our efforts to ensure that storm victims get the help they need. I thank Congressman Ross and Senators Pryor and Lincoln for their continued support and assistance the past two weeks.
My office and our federal delegation are now joining with state, local, private and other federal entities to work through the red tape, get trailers and put them on the road from Hope to Desha County as quickly as possible. Officials at FEMA have indicated that they will donate trailers but will not transport, set up or support those trailers.
True to his word, Beebe already has finalized the paperwork to get the FEMA trailers to Dumas.
Beebe spokesman Matt DeCample just called to say that 23 manufactured homes and seven travel trailers will be moved from Hope to Dumas starting tomorrow.
"We've got 10-12 trucks from Arkansas Trucking arranged through the Manufactured Housing Association," DeCample said. "We're getting the transportation at a reduced rate, but the costs will be paid by the state."
Beebe has authorized another $100,000 to pay for the transport and set-up of the trailers, although DeCample couldn't say exactly where the money is coming from.
All of the trailers should be in Dumas by Monday, depending on how many truckloads it takes. Local officials in Dumas will decide how the trailers are distributed.
DeCample said the state is also paying to get utilities hooked up so that the trailers can be fully-functioning homes as soon as possible.
"On another front, the governor authorized the early release of Medicaid reimbursement money to the hospital in Dumas," DeCample said. "It's over $300,000 ... it's money they would already be getting, but they're just getting it earlier because they have the need now."