May 29, 2024 - News

NWA communities organize recovery efforts after deadly storms

photo inside Rogers High School gym

The gym at Rogers High School is set up for people to sleep and for volunteers to hand out needed items. Photo: Alex Golden/Axios

FEMA officials will be in Northwest Arkansas today to assess the damage caused by weekend storms, Benton County Judge Barry Moehring said Tuesday during a news conference.

The latest: County officials are urging residents with property damage to report it online to help secure potential reimbursements as officials seek a federal disaster declaration, Moehring said.

  • Benton County had received 794 reports through its online tool as of Tuesday, said Michael Waddle, its director of emergency management.
  • Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Monday spoke with President Biden, who said the federal government is ready to help, per a news release from the governor's office.
  • The state will seek help from the National Guard to help with debris cleanup and directing traffic, Moehring said.

What they're saying: "It is a disaster," Moehring said.

  • Emergency dispatchers in Benton County took more than 1,200 calls from 1:30-5am Sunday.

State of play: Rogers High School is serving as a hub for people affected by the storms. Several families whose homes are destroyed have been staying overnight, and some are showering at the school, principal Lisa Williams told Axios.

  • Volunteers are handing out food and toiletries, and the school district will provide breakfast and lunch until at least Friday. The district is also offering child care for children in the district up to fifth grade.
  • For those who would like to donate, toiletries are the largest need, spokesperson Jason Ivester said.
photo of volunteers
Volunteers from Tyson Foods and Walmart put together meals on Tuesday in Rogers. Photo: Alex Golden/Axios

Tyson Foods and Walmart are also working together to distribute meals at the Walmart Neighborhood Market parking lot on West Walnut Street in Rogers.

  • Volunteers from both companies distributed about 5,000 meals on Monday and were on track Tuesday afternoon to distribute another 5,000, Michelle Mullins, director of food loss and waste and sustainability at Tyson, told Axios. They will continue to do so from 11am-5pm today.
  • The meals came as many were still without electricity and didn't have a way to cook or keep food cold at home. Some restaurants were closed, too, because of damage or lack of electricity.

Threat level: The death toll in Benton County remains at three. There are no storm-related cases of missing people, Benton County Sheriff Shawn Holloway confirmed.

  • More than 29,000 customers in Benton County remained without power as of about 4pm Tuesday, down from about 40,000 on Monday, according to PowerOutage.us. By early Wednesday morning, the number had dropped to about 11,000.

What's next: Two sites are set up for yard waste and food waste disposal in Rogers, according to the city. They are available 7am-5pm through Saturday at 3101 W. Oak St. and 2300 N. Arkansas St.

  • The city plans to offer curbside limb pickup and asks that residents place storm-related limbs — cut as short as possible — near the street. Residents should avoid placing the limbs on water meters, gas meters or downed electric poles or wires while ensuring fire hydrants are accessible.

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