Trump Declares Disaster In Michigan Counties After Flooding

LANSING (WWJ/AP) – President Donald Trump has made a disaster declaration for four Michigan counties that sustained widespread damage amid severe storms and flash flooding in June.

The announcement Wednesday makes federal funding available to residents and business owners in Bay, Gladwin, Isabella and Midland counties for things such as temporary housing, repairs and low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses.

The assistance also will aid the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe within Isabella County.

In an interview with WWJ Newsradio 950, Deputy Director of State Homeland Security Captain Chris Kelenske said the declaration will be of great help.

“It’s going to provide some assistance to individuals who have been damaged, or their property or homes have been destroyed as a result of the flooding that took place,” Kelenske said. “What it will do is it will look at some losses that aren’t covered by insurance and will be able to provide some assistance with some federal funds.”

Trump’s declaration also means communities statewide are eligible to participate in a program to help reduce or eliminate long-term risk to people and property from natural hazards.

Gov. Rick Snyder, who had asked Trump for the declaration, thanked the president in a tweet.

 

“The losses sustained by these communities have been severe due to the magnitude of the flash flooding,” Snyder said, in a media release. “This presidential declaration is an important step in our continuing efforts to provide assistance and help Michigan families and businesses recover from the effects of this disaster.”

With this declaration, communities statewide are now also eligible to participate in the hazard mitigation assistance program that can help reduce or eliminate long-term risk to people and property from natural hazards. Mitigation measures reduce personal loss, save lives and lessen the cost of responding to and recovering from future disasters.

“I strongly encourage communities to seize the opportunity for hazard mitigation assistance to enhance the safety of Michigan’s residents,” said Capt. Chris A. Kelenske, commander of the Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division (MSP/EMHSD). “With federal aid, our communities can initiate projects to save lives and protect public property and health

In Isabella County, which reported to the state that some $87 million worth of damage, Administrator Margaret McAvoy said the next step: FEMA will be coming to Michigan to set a local operation “in the fairly new future.”

“They will select a location, they will get set up and then we will certainly be assisting them with that and making sure that the residents of the county and the state know where to go and how to do that (get help),” she said.

In addition to the presidential declaration for individual assistance and hazard mitigation assistance, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has made low-interest disaster loans available to residents and businesses in the three affected counties. Additional information about the SBA disaster assistance program is available at www.sba.gov.

© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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