Dear Mr. President,
We are writing in support of Governor Whitmer's request for a Major Disaster Declaration for the State of Michigan. This request comes after federal, state, and local officials worked together to complete the Joint Preliminary Damage Assessment in Arenac, Gladwin, Iosco, Midland, and Saginaw Counties and determined federal assistance is necessary.
In mid-May, mid-Michigan received four to seven inches of rainfall, which had a devastating impact on homes, businesses, and public infrastructure. This significant rainfall caused the Edenville and Sanford Dams along the Tittabawassee River to fail, flooding the surrounding area with billions of gallons of water overnight. Federal, state, and local officials working on the ground conducted assessments from May 26 to June 13 and determined the level of damage requires federal assistance. This disaster response has been complicated by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as residents sought non-congregate sheltering and officials navigated virtual damage assessments.
In total, the flooding affected over 3,700 properties and the estimated private loss is over $190 million. More than 2,300 homes were directly affected causing structural damage, electrical damage, furnace and water heater damage, and extensive mold. These homes are not safe to live in and without assistance, families cannot afford to make critical repairs. As noted in the Governor's request, only 14 percent of affected households in the five counties had insurance policies covering flood damages. The Governor has requested Individual Assistance, Public Assistance, and activation of the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program. Nonprofits are doing their best to assist homeowners but without sufficient federal resources, it will be nearly impossible to hire the contractors needed to make the repairs quickly enough and ensure each displaced family has a safe home before the weather becomes inclement. In addition, the impact of the ongoing pandemic on state government, local governments, businesses, and homeowner's financial well-being intensifies the need for support from the federal government.
The people of the State of Michigan are resilient, and we commend the work of federal, state, and local officials to provide much needed assistance. However, there is still much more work to be done to ensure the safety of all those affected by the flood. We urge you to accept the Governor's request and swiftly provide assistance, so the residents and business owners in these communities can recover from this disaster. Thank you for your consideration of our request.