CAMDEN (KATV) - Most residents in
Camden finally have their power back after nearly a full weekend without
electricity due to the powerful storm that ripped through South Arkansas on
Thursday night. But devastation remains
in town, the reason the American Red Cross and Salvation Army say they are
staying put for now.
At the Red Cross command post set-up
at Victory Church in Camden, relief crews were busy on Sunday packing meals up
for a joint effort of handing out hot food and necessities.
Heavy rains on Sunday didn't make things
better for those with severe damage to their homes. Red Cross efforts suggest there are roughly
50 homes with severe damage, including Camden-Fairview High School.
One lady was gracious for the help the
two relief organizations were providing, but mentioned there were people in
greater need than herself.
She said, "there's a young family with
children – they need tarps for their house."
A man from the Red Cross said of course they had some tarps, the woman
following up by saying how urgent the problem was – "it's pouring in their
For many the damage was too great to
stay in their homes – with several homes split in two by trees and downed power
lines still everywhere.
"The Red Cross has tried to help a
number of them get rooms," said Betty Smith, volunteer with the Red Cross. "We had to send some of them out of town to
get rooms because we had no power."
But many of the first responders in
Camden were also first time responders.
It was just in 2013 that Camden residents created their own Red Cross
chapter – apparently just in the nick of time.
"We wasn't expecting a disaster for
sure," remarked Smith.
Instead of watching training videos on
how to respond to catastrophe, Camden's first responders are getting first hand
"There have been so many comments
about how well things are working out, how hard people are working, how good
everybody has been, how attentive," recalled Smith. "It's just brought us together in a way that
we would have never thought."