By ANNA LIZ NICHOLS Associated Press/Report for America
LANSING, Mich. (AP) â€” Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Monday she is requesting a federal disaster declaration for the Midland area, where a failure of two dams destroyed 150 houses and caused more than $200 million in damage.
Under a disaster declaration, Whitmer said she hopes to gain Federal Emergency Management Agency assistance as soon as possible to provide a wide range of service such as crisis counseling, road repairs and loans to homeowners.
The nearly 100-year-old Edenville Dam in Midland failed on May 19, forcing 10,000 residents to evacuate their homes as flood waters raged through the area.
“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.”
Midland County Commission Chairman Mark Bone said most of the houses damaged by the flood were not in a flood zone, so only about 8% had flood insurance coverage. There was $175 million in damage to homes, businesses and nonprofits, he said, and $34 million to public property.
“We’re excited and we are ready,” Bone said. “This community is a strong community, they’re ready to rebuild, the volunteers here have been amazing and we’re ready to go. There’s been a mourning period, we’re still mourning a little bit, but we’re ready to go forward.”
President Donald Trump issued an emergency declaration in May, after Whitmer sent a request which he signed during a visit to the state.
Whitmer said she will send a letter requesting the disaster declaration in the next week
Anna Liz Nichiols is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.”