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Tornado recovery continues

Work is progressing on structures damaged in the April 10 EF-2 tornado that smashed through Van Buren County.

Volunteers and construction work crews are working on Botkinburg Foursquare Church that was heavily damaged in the tornado.

Monday afternoon, workers were busy tearing down the second-story floor of the church. Sunday, the congregation held services at the Jehovah’s Witness Hall in Clinton.

About 50 homes were damaged or destroyed in the tornado. Four people were injured.

Some victims said they are struggling to get back to normalcy while repairs continue on their homes.

A former resident was in town last week surveying damage to his houses in Clinton. He said the houses on Highway 95 were badly damaged.

One woman said she took cover in a bathtub at her home near Scotland. She said she walked around her damaged home for two days just trying to take it in.

Meanwhile, the Van Buren County Long Term Recovery Committee (LTRC) has been reactivated, according to Friendship Baptist Pastor David Holcomb.

The purpose of the LTRC is to have a long-range plan for helping victims of the tornado. The primary goal is to help every family recover with the priority being families with no insurance and elderly with no insurance and ultimately even those with insurance, Holcomb said.

The committee is designed to match volunteer groups with the specific needs in Van Buren County. The LTRC is proposing a volunteer weekend April 27-28. The LTRC has been contacted by several volunteer organizations that would like to come assist families in need. The LTRC has a list of the properties which sustained damage. Some of the residents were not available for a personal assessment of their needs and this is why it is vital for storm victims to contact the LTRC.

The LTRC is also registered with the Arkansas Volunteer Organization Active in Disasters (VOAD) as well as registered with FEMA Region 6 VOAD.

The Arkansas VOAD is having a state meeting on Friday, April 26. A report of victims’ needs would be beneficial to report to the Arkansas VOAD chapter.

The LTRC is asking victims to contact the committee so it can match what help is available with victims’ needs. Call David Holcomb at (501) 592-1380 or David Cook at (501) 253-1931.

The LTRC also is planning a community worship event on Sunday, April 28.

“We are asking the community to rally together at 9 a.m. at the Clinton High School Auditorium for worship services and then disperse for volunteer work at 10 a.m.,” Holcomb said.

Donations are being accepted; make all donations to TACS.

LTRC members are Cook, Holcomb, Wanda Shannon, George O’Dell, Robbie O’Dell, Kyle Blanton, Tonia Robbins, Dale James and Forrest Smith.

Residents affected by the tornado may be available for Arkansas Disaster Assistance. To find out, call 1-888-683-2336 or visit www.adem.arkansas.gov.

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