Arkansas County Looking for Volunteers for Tornado Cleanup

June 18, 2014

Relief groups in Faulkner County are asking for more volunteers to help clean up the area, six weeks after an E4 tornado devastated theArkansas cities of Vilonia and Mayflower and killed 15 people throughout the state.

“All our people are worn out. I’ve had very little sleep over the past six weeks, said Rennie Tarpley, director of His Place His Way Ministries. “Our numbers of volunteers have dropped off significantly. Surveys show that’s what happens around week six.

“Long-term recovery has not even started yet. This is our Joplin. Eighteen months from now, we’re still going to be rebuilding and helping people. We need to mobilize volunteers that maybe haven’t helped yet.”

Another relief group, Arkansas Dream Center, estimated that five to six homes still need to be demolished, and about two dozen sites need extensive cleanup work. Executive Director Drew Davis told the Log Cabin Democrat that 700 people in the area were affected by the storm and that less than one-third of them have secured permanent housing. He said the most-needed donations now are furniture and small appliances.

“If you sent me 1,000 bodies a day for the next month, I probably wouldn’t get it done. There’s a lot of work,” Davis said.

Faulkner County Judge Allen Dodson said the county will begin its final sweep for tornado debris on June 30.

“In areas where there is no big debris left, there are still little bits that people could use help with. Little bits of paper, insulation and wood that’s in their yard,” Dodson said. “It may be someone who can’t help themselves. There’s going to be a need for volunteers for weeks to come and months, probably.”


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