Michigan to seek federal disaster declaration over broken dams

Michigan to seek federal disaster declaration over broken dams
© SETH HERALD/AFP via Getty Images

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) said Monday she will request a federal disaster declaration over damage caused by two dams that failed last month. 

Whitmer said she will send a letter to the federal government within the next week requesting the declaration for impacted areas after the dams failed in Midland County.  

“When the president approves our full request, federal assistance will be unlocked to help people and businesses get back on their feet and repair some of the damage that this flooding has caused,” Whitmer said during a visit to Midland County, according to video reported by Michigan Live

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“A declaration helps us provide everything from crisis counseling services to individuals to debris removal and road repair as well as opening up access to low-interest loans for homeowners and renters, businesses, farms, and nonprofits that have been impacted by this event,” she added. 

The failure of the two dams damaged about 2,500 houses and businesses and caused more than $200 million in damage, Mark Bone, chairman of the Midland County Board of Commissioners, reportedly said. 

Bone said only about 8 percent of the homes impacted by flooding had flood insurance coverage, according to Michigan Live. 

He reportedly said that, based on current estimates, about 150 homes were completely destroyed and about 790 homes suffered major damage. 

“It’s unlike anything seen in 500 years, I feel like I’ve said that many items over the course of the last three months. We’re going through something unlike anything any of us have seen in our lifetime, and yet here we are,” Whitmer said. “Getting back to normal is going to be a herculean undertaking, but with the federal government’s help, we can get it done and we will.”

In May, President TrumpDonald John TrumpKimberly Guilfoyle reports being asymptomatic and 'feeling really pretty good' after COVID-19 diagnosis Biden says he will rejoin WHO on his first day in office Lincoln Project offers list of GOP senators who 'protect' Trump in new ad MORE approved Whitmer’s request for a disaster declaration for the impacted areas. 

When the dams failed, Whitmer declared a state of emergency in Midland County. Thousands of residents were forced to evacuate amid the coronavirus outbreak.