Arkansas River Flood Relief Efforts

Disaster Recovery Update 2/17/2020

Dear Early Response Team Members and Volunteers in Mission:

It may surprise you to know that volunteers are still assisting those who were impacted by the historic Arkansas River Flood. Up and down the river, families are still struggling to put their lives back together. In addition, storms hit last summer and this winter when we least expected them and the spring storm season is just around the corner. To address the need, we have listed projects that currently need your help:

  1. Flood – finish porches and ramp – Saline County – week of Feb 17
  2. Flood – install skirting – Saline County – week of Feb 17
  3. Flood – wall construction and door framing starts Feb 17, then installation of insulation and drywall to follow – Conway County – week of Feb 24
  4. Wind storm – demolition of damaged portion of home, then construction of replacement room addition – Fulton County – week of Feb 24
  5. Flash flood – construct access (porches/steps) for replacement mobile home, install skirting – Cherokee County, OK
  6. Flash flood – interior finish work – Sebastian County
  7. Flash flood – repair damaged floor structure (may require contractor) – Sebastian County
  8. Wind storm – pending assessment but church will need tarping – Pulaski County
  9. Tornado – debris removal post destruction of mobile home – Logan County – date TBD per drier weather/ground
  10. Flood – broken tile removed and drywall cracks spackled – Pulaski County

Note: Disaster case management is still in process so many needs are unknown at this time.

Our faithful volunteers are few and could use a break.  Prayerfully consider how much time you can devote to disaster response and recovery in Arkansas in 2020.  Then, give our coordinators a call to discuss projects and how you can best serve.

In addition, we are raising funds for a staging/storage/training facility in Central Arkansas.  The goal is $30,000, and we have raised $6000.  Please help us promote this project by sharing at your local church or anywhere you think might be a help. For more information, please click here. UMCOR Sunday will be March 22. Please help us get the word out to your churches to help promote this important special giving Sunday. More information can be found here. A big thank you to Roy and Shelley Lee for covering while Byron is recovering from knee replacement surgery. They gathered their thoughts on current projects and presented this for an announcement. Byron and I added to the update. Thank you also to Althea and Eric Fox for taking the lead on the project in Fulton County.

Disaster Recovery Update 10/25/2019

Arkansas River Flooding

The transition from relief to recovery has been daunting after the AR River Flood. There is a wide range of situations in the different areas affected along the river. Long Term Recovery Groups are up and working in the AR/OK River Valley area (6 affected counties) and in Pulaski County. The other areas are on hold or struggling for various reasons. We have developed a Plan B and a Plan C to continue the recovery effort in those areas. Four United Methodist case managers are sharing 2 full time positions to cover 3.5 of five affected areas. There are two additional case managers working in partnership with them to cover the other 1.5. Unmet needs are being identified and resources allocated to meet those needs through the case management process. All this is made possible through donations to the conference and UMCOR after the flood. UMCOR has provided two grants after the flood to support the recovery efforts. Two additional grants were received by the AR Conference as a trusted partner, one of which is designated for use in the four counties affected in Southeast AR. Current river flood recovery work projects include a rebuild in Perry and a replacement that needs access porches and steps in Houston. We are seeking volunteers to help with these two projects. As more projects are ready we will announce the volunteer needs through email and Facebook posts as well as conference communications.

Other Updates

A roof has been replaced on a home in Sebastian County after the tornado there back in the spring. Two Boone County tornado home replacements have been built. We have had teams and partners working there. The Jefferson County tornado and Marion County tornado projects have closed with all identified needs met. Flash flooding has affected Crawford, Sebastian and Hempstead Counties since the River flood. One replacement home has been provided in Hempstead and there are three open cases in Crawford/Sebastian.


Update – Arkansas River Flood Update 6/3/2019

Historic, record breaking flooding is occurring in Arkansas along the Arkansas River. It is anticipated that communities along the river through the state will be affected.

We have identified a Conference Disaster Response Coordination Team for the 2019 AR River Flood event as follows:

  • Incident Coordinators – Janice and Byron Mann –,
  • Assistant (& Assistance) Coordinators – Shelley and Roy Lee –
  • Logistics (including limited Donations Management) – Tarri Henderson and Rick Gartner
  • Caring Ministry – Sheri Mathews –
  • Case Work – Tracy Eichenberger (Partner – Catholic Charities)
  • Volunteer Management – Colleen and Kevin Overholt –
  • Planning/Training – Janice Mann –
  • Administration/Finance – Todd Burris and Megan Rugg of the Conference Office
  • Communications/Public Information Officer – Amy Ezell of the Conference Office –
  • Chaplain for the CCTeam – Mark McDonald and Rick Gartner

A donate button and a volunteer button are set up on  The volunteer button should be used for volunteer registration.  These email addresses are for correspondence.

Disaster and VIM Coordinators have been in contact with our response partners in the Arkansas Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (AR VOAD) and are staying in touch with local and state government partners as well.  AR VOAD members coordinate efforts to provide the most effective and efficient services to those affected, to avoid duplication of efforts and services and to avoid wasting resources.  It is extremely important to coordinate efforts through the conference so that coordination pieces with other partners are effective.

Just-in-time trainings will be offered in strategic locations along the river near affected areas. These will be abbreviated ERT with necessary components and a thorough training in cleaning out flooded homes. These trainings will not include UMCOR certification.  Temporary conference badges for this event will be issued. This is an attempt to build capacity for this event. The magnitude of this event has prompted this decision. Other areas of our county are experiencing devastating disaster events and volunteer teams are spread thin. Clean-outs will be the primary tasks and providing the caring presence of the church to those affected and hurting will be the primary purpose.

Early Response Teams – This is an “all hands on deck” event. It’s going to take all of us, our partners, and more for the response. We are anticipating to be able to start ERT work possibly June 10th; this gives you time to prepare to deploy. As you well know, this is a wait and see situation. We need our trained and experienced teams to respond first while we get other volunteers trained. We will likely need you all to also offer leadership to these newly trained teams.

Local churches – please engage in your community’s response and the conference response as needed. There will be need for office space, staging areas, volunteer housing and hosting, etc. and you may be asked to provide assistance by your community partners or officials. If you hear of community meetings being held, please let us know and send a representative from your church.

The primary current needs are funding and volunteers. Please solicit both in announcements and updates at your local church over the next weeks.

UMCOR Sager Brown and the Supply network have ample supplies of cleaning buckets and hygiene kits. We have accepted a truck load of those supplies and have them staged at Mayflower and Fort Smith to be distributed along the river as needed. Please rather than making kits; take the funds you would spend and donate it to the Conference Disaster Response fund or UMCOR. Do not collect in-kind goods. Business and corporate partners have stepped up to take care of those items and trucks are arriving at a distribution centers daily.

Thank you to those individuals, teams and churches who are already playing a part in the response. Thank you to the Conference office staff and to the Bishop for the support they are providing. Thank you to UMCOR for supplies, funding, and for equipping us for the task at hand.Watch here and on our Facebook page for more information and announcements.