Monday, June 6, 2011

Aid for Flood Victims in the Delta

5,000 Families in Flood-Damaged Delta to Receive Free Medical, Dental Care

Delta Regional Authority, Gov. Beebe to Launch Taskforce “Razorback”

300 Military Medical Personnel to Provide Shot in the Arm to Delta’s Health Care

LITTLE ROCK – 5,000 families in the flood-damaged Delta will receive free medical and dental Care, Delta Regional Authority Federal Co-Chairman Chris Masingill and Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe announced today.

The health initiative named Taskforce “Razorback” and led by military reservists from across the nation, will operate for the next two weeks, June 8-18, in the towns of Eudora, Helena-West Helena, Marianna, McGehee, and Wynne.

The Delta has faced record level flooding over the last two months. Receding waters have only begun to reveal the extent of the devastation to families and towns across the region – with millions of dollars of crops washed away, thousands of homes destroyed, and businesses shuttered.

Taskforce “Razorback” – Delivering Free Medical and Dental Care to Delta Families
-Free health and dental services for approximately 5,000 people in five towns will be delivered.
-Any resident is eligible for services that include testing for diabetes, high-blood pressure, eye exams and general dentistry.
-Patients will be referred to doctors in their area for any follow up care that is needed.
-300 medical personnel from the Army Reserve, Navy Reserve, and Air Force Reserve with valuable and realistic training will be provided.
-The health care gap left by the closure of 9 Arkansas hospitals located in or adjacent to the Delta area that have closed since 1985 will be shortened.

Chairman Masingill said, “This initiative honors the strength and determination of Arkansas families during this challenging time. Not only are we renewing our commitment to these families, but we are providing a major shot in the arm to the region’s health. Existing health disparities are a hindrance to the Delta’s vibrant communities and the DRA is committed to combatting them.”

“This care would be important in any year, but it is especially needed after the recent floods and storms we’ve experienced in the Delta,” Governor Beebe said. “We are proud to see these military professionals helping those who need it the most with assistance from the Delta Regional Authority.”

The Delta region, including Arkansas, consistently suffers from poor health outcomes. Compared with national rates, deaths in the Delta region from circulatory diseases are 21.2% higher, deaths from cancer are 12.7% higher and deaths from accidents are 42% higher. In 2002, infant mortality rates in the Delta region were almost 30% higher than the national average.
The Delta Regional Authority is a federal-state partnership that serves 252 counties and parishes in parts of Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee. Chris Masingill, appointed by President Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate to be the DRA’s Federal Co-Chairman, along with the governors of the eight states comprise the Authority’s board. For more information, please visit: