Earle declared disaster area as eastern Arkansas floods

EARLE, Ark. — Crittenden County Office of Emergency Management has declared Earle a disaster area with the Arkansas Dept of Emergency Management.

They hope this will help them get state assistance in the future for recovery.

Crittenden County officials say 20 homes total have now been evacuated out of the Apollo Acres and “Donut” neighborhood of Earle. They say the Red Cross has set up a shelter.

Tanecka Robinson knew Friday when she saw water coming up to her door, she had to get out.

"In five years, I've never seen it this high," Robinson said.

County officials rescued her and her seven children in a boat Friday, leaving behind everything they had.

Since then, the water has swallowed about two dozen additional homes.

The Red Cross arrived Sunday to offer shelter and assistance for residents, including Lertis Caldwell.

"Now I have two vehicles down there plus my home and everything," Caldwell said.

Caldwell left Thursday to take her daughter for surgery.

She had no idea she would not be able to return home.

"The water came up so fast that we only had the things on our backs," Caldwell said.

Both women say they're grateful for help from the Red Cross, but they wonder where are government officials.

We went to City Hall in Earle, Arkansas to find out, but the doors were locked.

When we tried calling the mayor's office we got a voicemail.

However, we did reach county officials.

Crittenden County Emergency Management Coordinator Bud Spears says they were the ones who rescued people Friday, but these homes are a tough case.

"The homes were built in flood-prone areas. At this point, we're waiting on the water to recede," Spears said.

For now, these moms are at least thankful for faith and family.

They say it could be worse.

The county is hoping the state and FEMA will provide aid to the affected residents. Long term solution would be for FEMA to buy back the land that often floods but that could take years.

The flood waters are expected to recede by Tuesday.