June 7, 2017 Edition

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Clover Bend recovery
will be lengthy

Travis Pankey removes the hot water heater from the home of Robert and Missy Pratt in Clover Bend. All the flooring, as well as the sheetrock four feet up the walls, had to be removed from the home after water stood in the house for three days.

Gretchen Hunt

For most Lawrence County residents, the flood of 2017 is a thing of the past, but for some the effects still linger.

County Judge John Thomison said several homes in the county received extensive damage, including homes in Sedgwick, Portia and near the county line north of Walnut Ridge. He said one of the hardest hit areas was Clover Bend, with extensive damage to roads and homes.

"This was angry water," Thomison said, noting that the water not only got inside of buildings, it also moved items with its sheer force.

Missy Pratt of Clover Bend can give first-hand accounts of the power of the water as floodwaters carried a wooden play set and a metal playhouse from her yard, across their property and to their pond.

Clover Bend Fire Chief Allen Freer said more than 30 homes in Clover Bend received some damage, with some receiving major damage. He said approximately 15 homes had to be evacuated, and residents of at least five homes are still unable to return due to extensive damage.

Missy and her husband, Robert, who live on Highway 228 are staying in Walnut Ridge while repairs are done to their home.

"We probably won't be back in for several more months," Missy said.

This is the third time their home has been flooded, the first in 1982 when Robert's parents were still living in the home.

"We redid the house in 2007-2008 and moved in there," Missy said. "Then it flooded again in 2011."

"The water was in the house three days this time," she added. "The water got a little over a foot in the house, but higher in the shops."

Missy said disaster recovery groups from the United Methodist Church and the Church of Christ were quick to provide assistance and supplies to those who had damage to their homes.

Whether or not there will be assistance from FEMA remains to be seen.

"FEMA showed up after about two weeks and said they were only there to assess damage," Missy said.

She said they were unable to answer any of their questions at that time and they haven't heard anything from them since.

The county has received a disaster declaration at the state level but has not yet been declared a disaster by the federal government. Gov. Asa Hutchinson submitted a request for the federal declaration earlier this week.

Freer echoed Missy's thanks to the church organizations that have been so helpful to those who were displaced. He said there is still a long road ahead for those who were affected the most.

"People are starting to rebuild," he said. "It's a slow process."

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