FORT SMITH, Ark. (KNWA) — The Arkansas River is leaving some Sebastian County neighborhoods in disarray.
Relief organizations and local businesses are working around the clock helping flood victims and their water-damaged homes.
Volunteers from all across the country are coming to Fort Smith to help Arkansans get back on their feet.
“Any time there is a major disaster, the American Red Cross in a matter of 24 hours can set up what is essentially a multi-million dollar operation overnight,”says Andy Brubaker, the Executive Official Lesion Lead for the Arkansas flooding disaster.
Inside the Fort Smith Police Department, the disaster delivery services center for the American Red Cross is buzzing.
“We are trying to coordinate feeding, we are trying to coordinate sheltering, we have an IT support team here. We have folks with mental health, disaster health services. We have folks who are working with elected officials,” Brubaker said. “We want to take care of the basic needs — food, water, shelter.”
Over 100 volunteers are coordinating relief operations across the entire state, some working twelve hours a day and seven days a week.
Across town, flood damage restoration specialists are also working around the clock.
“Once the demolition has been done we will set drying equipment. Then after the dying equipment, you usually dry about three days. Once it has been dried, then the repairs will start,” says Mike Haney, Account Manager for ServiceMaster Restore.
ServiceMaster Restore is going into some homes that have six to eight feet of water.
“This is called an air mover, it’s basically a high-powered fan. Just for an average 2,000 square foot home, about 30 or 40 of these is often needed in these cases to properly dry it out. That gets the air circulating,” Haney said.
His warning for flood victims: “the longer water sits and it stays moist, the more damage is done. Mold can grow in as short as 72 hours.”
The cleanup process may be just beginning, but the help is pouring in.