May 25, 2011 Edition

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Disaster recovery center now open

Gretchen Hunt

A disaster recovery center opened on Monday at the Pocahontas Community Center, located at 300 Geneva Road.

Residents of Lawrence, Randolph and Clay counties, who were impacted by recent storms and flooding, can receive assistance at the center.

Lawrence County was declared as a federal disaster area on May 16. This designation provides for both individual assistance and public assistance.

In addition to FEMA representatives, there will also be representatives of the Small Business Administration, as well as state agencies, available to assist homeowners and business owners.

Cynthia Cowell, public information officer for the SBA, said the association offers low-interest loans to both individuals and businesses in the wake of a disaster.

"We can offer loans up to $200,000 for repairs or relocation for homeowners impacted by the disaster," she said. "We can also offer loans up to $40,000 to replace personal property, including cars."

Some assistance is also available for renters.

Assistance offered to businesses includes low-interest loans for those that received property damage from the disaster, as well as economic injury loans for those that lost revenue due to having to be closed or decline in customers.

Cowell, as well as Bill Lehman, public information officer for FEMA, encourages anyone affected by the recent disaster to visit the center.

"This is an opportunity for people to come and get help in applying for assistance or to have any questions answered," Lehman said. "I really encourage people to come by."

The recovery center is open from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 1-6:30 p.m. on Sunday. Lehman said he expects the center to be open at least two weeks.

Those affected need to register

Sherri Sparks of the Lawrence County Office of Emergency Management reminds those affected that they need to register with FEMA.

"Even if they have already registered with the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management, they still need to apply with FEMA now that we have been declared a federal disaster area," she said.

Individuals can register by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362), going online at or by visiting the recovery center in Pocahontas.

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