Michigan to seek federal 'major disaster' status for Edenville Dam break

1 year ago 49
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June 9 (UPI) -- Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is seeking federal disaster aid for the state after extensive flooding last month caused by a burst dam.

Whitmer said she's preparing a request for a "major disaster" declaration that makes Michigan eligible for relief from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

"Within the next week, I will be sending a letter to the federal government requesting a major disaster declaration for the impacted areas," she said, adding that officials will extensively document the flood damage.

"We want it to be granted so we've got to get it right."

If approved by President Donald Trump, the disaster status would unlock a higher level of federal aid, including access to low-interest loans for residents and business owners.

The earthen Edenville Dam in Michigan's Lower Peninsula was breached on May 19 following several days of heavy rain in Midland County. Thousands of residents were evacuated.

It's estimated 2,500 homes and businesses were damaged and losses are between $175 million and $200 million.

"It's unlike anything we've seen in 500 years, and I feel like I've said that many times over the course of the last three months, and yet here we are," Whitmer said of the disaster, coupled with the coronavirus pandemic.

"Getting back to normal is going to be Herculean undertaking, but with the federal government's help, we can get it done, and we will."

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