FORT SMITH, Ark. (KNWA) –T he Arkansas River is receding and as of Monday, it stands at 36.45 ft. The City of Fort Smith is now moving towards recovery mode.
The focus of the daily briefing on Monday was safety and how people affected by the flooding should now move forward.
“The water is receding and hope is rising,” Eddie Lee Herndon with United Way of Fort Smith said.
The assessment process is key to receiving reimbursement funds from FEMA.
Safety is the top priority right now. A spokesperson for the Health Department says people should stay away from flood water, even if it recedes. Mold could be a big issue for homeowners.
If you get your water from a well, the Health Department is waiving testing to make sure water is clean.
If your home was flooded and you still don’t have power, city officials say you should hire a licensed electrical contractor or engineer to check out your house for any electrical or internal problems.
“We need everyone still to have their patience so the damage can be accessed by the authorities, and then we can move into the total recovery process,” City Administrator Carl Geffken said.
The Arkansas Department of Health says flood victims also need to be wary when it comes to food.
“Do not eat or drink anything that’s been exposed to the floods. Anything you might have in your cupboards, fridge, freezer, all that kind of stuff. Even though it might be a canned good type thing, there are some extensive ways to try to clean that up but it’s best to just start over,” Matthew Hicks said.
511 Rogers Avenue in Fort Smith is now being used to help victims and act as a donation center. It’s an old Sears building at Central Mall.
Flooding victims can come here for meals and shopping every day from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Meals will be served at noon and 5:30 p.m.
Corporate or individual donations can also be dropped off here.
Over 500 homes have been impacted by historic flooding in Sebastian County.
Several companies are pitching in to donate to the United Way of Fort Smith.
Sam’s club donated $18,000, and Harps has donated $7,500. Many more companies are coming forward to help donate items needed for the distribution hub.