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Gov. Whitmer asks President Trump for federal aid for mid-Michigan after catastrophic flooding

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer delivers remarks on Midland-area flooding at a press conference in front of Midland High School on Wednesday, May 20, 2020 in Midland, Mich. Gov. Whitmer surveyed flood damage from a helicopter earlier in the morning. (Riley Yuan |

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer late Wednesday sought federal emergency aid for the catastrophic flooding that has hit parts of mid-Michigan.

Whitmer, in a letter to President Donald Trump, asked him to declare an emergency in Midland County on an expedited basis. She declared on the state’s behalf Wednesday, May 20.

In her letter, she notes the failure of the Edenville Dam following six to eight inches of rain over 48 hours and over-topping the Sanford Dam.

Whitmer went on to say that 10,000 residents were being required to evacuate homes due to the “imminent danger” of a 500-year flood.

The letter to federal officials also said that while a damage estimate was not immediately available, Midland County’s 2018 FEMA-approved “hazard mitigation plan” estimates the building impacts from a failure of the Edenville Dam at 5,745 parcels with a total building value of $878,974,848.

She details a myriad of local and state efforts to help in the disaster.

“Despite our efforts, local and state resources have been insufficient to respond to the situation. The availability of equipment and personnel is further limited due to the ongoing effects and response requirements of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic,” Whitmer said in a press release. “Therefore, additional federal assistance is required to protect public health, safety, and property, and to lessen or avert the threat of more severe and persisting impacts to the community.”

As part of Whitmer’s letter, she specifically seeks resources for debris removal and emergency protective measures, including direct federal assistance.

“The management of debris will be critically important to recovery in the days immediately following this flood disaster,” the letter states. “The wet, heavy, contaminated flood debris from damaged homes and businesses will create dangerous and unsanitary conditions in the affected areas.”


© 2020