Obama declares disaster areas in 6 U.P. counties
LANSING – Gov. Rick Snyder announced that the president has declared a major disaster area for 16 counties across Michigan’s Upper and Lower Peninsulas due to the severe flood damage that occurred from April 16 to May 14. The affected counties are Allegan, Barry, Baraga, Gogebic, Houghton, Ionia, Kent, Keweenaw, Marquette, Midland, Muskegon, Newaygo, Ontonagon, Osceola, Ottawa and Saginaw.
“The losses incurred by Michigan’s communities have been severe due to the magnitude of the regional flooding,” Snyder said. “This presidential declaration is the first step in providing assistance to our state and local governments as they rebuild their roads, bridges and other public infrastructure. I appreciate the federal government’s recognition of the severity of this incident and its prompt response.”
The Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division and federal partners will hold applicant briefings across the state to help communities understand and start the application process. The repairs and assessments to damaged areas in Michigan are on-going. This presidential declaration does not include assistance for individuals and businesses.
Communities statewide are also eligible for the hazard mitigation assistance program to help reduce or eliminate long-term risk to people and property from natural hazards. Mitigation measures can help reduce personal loss, save lives, and lessen the cost of responding to and recovering from future disasters.
“I strongly encourage our communities to seize the opportunity for hazard mitigation assistance to enhance the safety of Michigan’s citizens,” said Capt. Chris A. Kelenske, commander of the MSP/EMHSD. “With federal aid, our communities can initiate projects to save lives and protect public property and health.”
Based on information provided by the MSP/EMHSD, state officials requested five federal Preliminary Damage Assessment teams to verify and review the most severely damaged homes, businesses, and public facilities and infrastructures across the state’s upper and lower peninsulas. The teams conducted their assessments from May 9-22.
State officials assessed the PDA results and determined the extent of damage reached the level for receiving federal assistance. FEMA reviewed the request and advised the president whether a major disaster declaration should be granted.
Snyder declared a state of disaster on May 7, making available state resources to help address any remaining threats to public health and safety due to the severe flooding.
In addition to the presidential declaration for public assistance and hazard mitigation assistance, the U.S. Small Business Administration has made lowinterest disaster loans available to residents and businesses in Western Michigan.