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Whitmer seeks federal disaster for Michigan after flooding

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer State of the State Address 20201 photo
Office of the Governor
Associated Press
Governor Gretchen Whitmer

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Tuesday asked the White House issue a disaster declaration to secure federal aid to deal with damage from last month’s flooding in southeast Michigan.

Parts of the region saw about 7 inches (17.78 centimeters) of rain over a 12-hour period between the night of June 25 and the morning of June 26. Whitmer’s office said if federal aid is granted, the money would be used for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses and other programs to help people and businesses recover from the flooding damage.

“We are working as quickly as possible to speed up the timeline for this request that Michigan families need so desperately to recover from these historic floods,” Whitmer said in a statement.

Whitmer issued an emergency declaration that will be in place until July 24.

Two deaths are tied to the aftermath of the storm — an 87-year-old man who died after falling in his flooded basement and a 40-year-old utility worker who died June 29 in Detroit while responding to power outages.

In a letter to President Joe Biden, the Democratic governor asked for a declaration for flooding damage that closed freeways, knocked out power to thousands of residents and soaked basements, causing major damage and sewer backups in Wayne and Washtenaw counties. Federal and local officials assessed the damage last week at the most severely affected homes and businesses across Wayne County.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency will review Whitmer’s request and advise Biden whether he should grant the disaster declaration.