Storm-damaged communities in Arkansas and Oklahoma will be eligible for $13.8 million in disaster funds from the federal government, Arkansas' congressional delegation announced Wednesday.

 Storm-damaged communities in Arkansas and Oklahoma will be eligible for $13.8 million in disaster funds from the federal government, Arkansas' congressional delegation announced Wednesday.
The money, set aside in the fiscal year 2008 supplemental appropriations bill, will go to the Economic Development Administration's Austin Region. The state's congressional delegation says the money is specifically set aside for recovery projects in Arkansas and Oklahoma, both beset by tornadoes and flooding since February.
The money will help fund repairs and improvement to public infrastructure that wasn't covered under other disaster programs.
"The congressional delegation overcame several challenges to deliver this disaster relief funding to Arkansas, including a veto threat" from President Bush, said Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark. "In the end, we were able to secure enough dollars to help our state rebuild, recover and come out stronger than before the storms hit."
The Arkansas delegation said it showed officials at the U.S. Department of Commerce the extensive damage and urgent economic needs in the state.
The severe weather began in February and continued into May. Twenty-eight people died, and the federal government issued three disaster declarations covering Arkansas: one that covered a Feb. 5 tornado and storms through Feb. 12; one that covered flooding and storm damage between March 18 and April 28, and a third covering storms between May 2 and May 12.
In Oklahoma, a tornado ripped through Picher, a fading lead and zinc mining town within a federal Superfund site. The storm packed winds estimated at 165 to 175 mph and killed seven people as it roared through in May.
Oklahoma also has faced spring floods and a summertime drought this year.