LITTLE ROCK — President Obama declared parts of Arkansas a federal disaster area Tuesday, clearing the way for federal recovery assistance to the state and to communities affected by severe storms, tornadoes and flooding between May 30 through June 3, the White House announced.

Five people died and 18 were injured in the severe weather, which caused nearly $10 million in damages in the disaster area covering Cleburne, Cross, Independence, Montgomery, Poinsett, Polk, Scott, Searcy, Stone, Van Buren, and Woodruff counties.

The federal declaration, requested by Gov. Mike Beebe on June 18, makes Arkansas eligible to receive federal funding on a cost-sharing basis to the state and to eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations for emergency work and the repair or replacement of damaged infrastructure.

The administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency named Kenneth K. Suiso as the federal coordinating officer for federal recovery operations in the affected area, and FEMA said additional designations may be made later if requested by the state and warranted by the results of further damage assessments.