There may be renewed hope for some businesses and families impacted by recent flooding across Michigan’s Great Southwest thanks to a disaster declaration by Governor Rick Snyder.
Now that the affected communities have completed damage assessments, Gov. Rick Snyder today declared a state of disaster and opened the Disaster and Emergency Contingency Fund to local governments in 17 counties and two cities after heavy rainfall and snow melt on February 19-21 resulted in widespread flooding damage.
The affected areas include: Allegan, Arenac, Barry, Berrien, Cass, Clare, Eaton, Ingham, Ionia, Kalamazoo, Kent, Mecosta, Newaygo, Ogemaw, Oscoda, Ottawa and St. Joseph counties and the cities of Grand Rapids and Lansing.
Snyder, in making the declaration, said today, “Thank you to our emergency responders and volunteer services for their painstaking efforts to keep Michiganders safe throughout this flooding incident.” He added, “Protecting the public health and safety of our residents is our top priority. This disaster declaration will provide state assistance to help our communities continue their recovery.”
By declaring a state of disaster, Snyder has made available all state resources in cooperation with local response and recovery efforts in the disaster area. The declaration authorizes the Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division (MSP/EMHSD) to coordinate state efforts above and beyond what MSP/EMHSD has already been doing in conjunction with local agencies.
Capt. Chris Kelenske, Deputy State Director of Emergency Management and Homeland Security and commander of the MSP/EMHSD, says, “We have been working closely with our local emergency management partners in all counties and cities affected by these floods.” He adds, “My staff will continue to partner with our affected communities as they recover from this incident.”
Through the Disaster and Emergency Contingency Fund, local governments in the declared counties can apply for grants to receive reimbursement for response costs up to $100,000, or 10-percent of their previous year’s operating budget, whichever is less.
Before the recent flooding, many of the impacted communities had implemented mitigation projects designed to lessen the impacts of flooding hazards. While the State does not know the full extent of the damages these projects prevented, a 2017 report by the National Institute of Building Sciences estimates communities save $6 for every dollar spent on mitigation projects.