Obama declares disaster after tornadoes

 

President Obama on Tuesday declared a state of disaster in Arkansas, freeing up federal funds to assist the recovery from the deadly tornadoes that killed at least two dozen people across six southern states.

"Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster," the White House said in a statement.

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The federal government will offer assistance to individuals in Faulkner County, among the hardest hit in the storms, as well as local governments and nonprofit organizations helping to remove debris.

"Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide," the White House said in a statement.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Craig Fugate has been dispatched to the area to lead recovery operations.

At a press conference in the Philipines on Monday, Obama offered his “deepest condolences” and hailed the “heroic efforts” of first responders who rushed into the aftermath of the storm.

"I want everyone affected by this tragedy to know that FEMA and the federal government is on the ground and will help our fellow Americans in need, working with state and local officials, and I want everybody to know that your country will be there to help you recover and rebuild as long as it takes,” Obama said.

According to Reuters, at least 30 people were killed and hundreds more were injured in the storms. Tens of thousands of customers remain without power.

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