Whitmer Requests Presidential Disaster Declarations For SW Michigan
By: Mike Stiles - Thursday, June 6, 2024

Governor Gretchen Whitmer (photo courtesy of State of Michigan)

(LANSING) – Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer is asking for Federal help following storms that moved through a portion of the State.

On Thursday, Whitmer sent a letter to President Joe Biden requesting a Major Disaster Declaration and activation of the federal individual assistance (IA) programs for St. Joseph, Branch, Cass and Kalamazoo Counties following an assessment of damage to the area. She requested the declaration after four tornadoes and severe storms caused massive damage across the affected counties on May 7.

Whitmer says Michiganders across Southwest Michigan have been devastated by four tornadoes and severe storms, with many losing their homes and businesses. She’s requesting a presidential disaster declaration so critical financial assistance can be delivered to support families, businesses, and communities as they recover and rebuild.

The severe thunderstorms and tornadoes that struck the southwest part of the state, resulted in sixteen injuries, and caused significant damage to homes, businesses, and the power grid. Hail ranging from one to four inches in diameter was also reported along with dangerous straight-line winds. Debris removal and other storm related clean-up has lasted several weeks.

The night of the storms, Governor Whitmer declared a State of Emergency for the impacted counties, directing state departments and agencies to use all available state resources in cooperation with local response and recovery efforts.

At the State’s request, a joint preliminary damage assessment was conducted by state, federal, and local officials beginning on May 15.  The initial assessment estimates a need of more than $4 million in assistance.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) IA assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.

FEMA will review Governor Whitmer’s request and make a recommendation to the president, who will then decide whether to declare a major disaster and grant this federal aid. 


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