National Guard troops mobilized to help in rescue efforts after tornadoes hit Arkansas
The storms killed at least 26 people died across several states.
After a series of tornadoes hit the Midwest and South on Friday, leaving at least 26 people dead, the National Guard is helping rescue and recovery efforts in Arkansas.
The state mobilized 100 National Guardsmen to help with rescue efforts, declaring a state of emergency on Friday. They’re assisting Arkansas State Police in helping people evacuate from damaged areas, directing traffic and pointing people to safe locations. The Guardsmen, with the 87th Troop Command, have a base of operations at Camp Robinson, but are deployed both to Little Rock and also to Wynne, Arkansas, a town 91 miles from the capital and close to the border with Tennessee, that saw some of the worst damage from the tornado.
At least four people died in Wynne during Friday’s storm. The town wrapped its search and rescue efforts on Saturday. Dozens more were injured during the tornadoes, local news reported.
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In the capital of Little Rock, Mayor Frank Scott Jr. requested aid from the National Guard, as many of the main roadways in the city were cut off by damage from the tornadoes. The work supports local first responders in transporting people to hospitals and shelters.
“Recovery efforts for our city and its residents will be long, but we are resilient,” Scott said, per local outlet KARK. “We will continue to work together to move from this natural disaster stronger than before.”
The weather that hit Arkansas was part of a series of tornados that hit parts of as many as eight states this past week. In addition to the death and damage in Arkansas, tornadoes killed nine people in Tennessee, four in Illinois and three more in Indiana.
Aerial video shared by the Arkansas National Guard on Defense Visual Information Distribution Service or DVIDS showed the scale of damage from the sky. The footage was shot while Maj. Gen. Jonathan M. Stubbs, adjutant general of the Arkansas National Guard, toured the area. It showed uprooted trees, debris lining the streets and fields, and multiple buildings with roofs damaged or fully ripped off.
In addition to helping with traffic control, National Guardsmen are assisting in clearing debris from roads. That includes cutting up trees that were ripped from the ground and are now blocking emergency assistance from reaching certain areas.
The Biden administration approved a disaster declaration for Arkansas on Sunday morning. Federal Emergency Management Agency officials are visiting the areas hit today.
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