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Trump approves request for mid-Michigan flood disaster declaration

Sam Jones
The Detroit News

President Donald Trump approved Thursday a major disaster declaration request by the state of Michigan that opens federal individual and public aid following May flooding in five mid-Michigan counties. 

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer requested a major disaster declaration from Trump for $245 million in damage widespread flooding caused in five Michigan counties. The damage done in Midland, Gladwin, Arenac, Iosco and Saginaw counties amounted to roughly $190 million in losses for residents and $55 million in damage to public infrastructure, according to the 50-page request Whitmer sent to the Trump administration in mid-June.

Approval provides more federal assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Small Business Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Office of Rural Development for individuals and companies seeking relief because of flood damage, according to the office of U.S. Rep. John Moolenaar, R-Midland. 

FILE - This May 20, 2020, file photo shows a Michigan National Guard FMTV taking personnel to a home they were notified was smoking along a then-flooded W. Signet road in Midland.

"At the request of Congressman Moolenaar, I have approved a major Disaster Declaration to provide more than $43 million in Federal Funds to help the people of the GREAT State of Michigan recover from the recent dam break flooding," Trump tweeted Thursday evening. "I will always stand with Michigan!

In May, two dams failed, inundating Midland and Gladwin counties. The Edenville Dam bordering Gladwin and Midland counties broke, sending water down the Tittabawassee River and over the top of the Sanford Dam downstream. 

The Tittabawassee hit a record-breaking high, rising over 34 feet, which was 6 feet above the "major flooding" stage. At one point, more than 374,000 gallons of water were running through the Edenville Dam per second, draining Wixom Lake, the dam's reservoir. 

Flooding destroyed property and sewage systems and displaced as many as 10,000 people. 

In total, 52 homes were destroyed, 907 sustained major damage, 740 minor damage and 642 affected by the disaster, according to the letter Whitmer sent to the Trump administration. About 86% of the homes affected do not have flood insurance.

After the flooding, 4,675 unemployment claims were filed from residents in Midland, Gladwin, Arenac, Iosco and Saginaw counties. 

Residents can apply for assistance at DisasterAssistance.gov.

“This federal assistance will help us rebuild communities, homes, and businesses,” Moolenaar said in a statement. “I know how much this support will mean to so many who need it as they recover their lives and rebuild their homes."

sjjones@detroitnews.com