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Whitmer requests FEMA assistance following May tornadoes

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(The Center Square) – Southwestern Michigan impacted by recent storms might be given a federal disaster declaration.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer wants President Joe Biden to issue a Major Disaster Declaration for four Michigan counties after the multiple tornadoes earlier this month. While Branch, Cass, Kalamazoo and St. Joseph counties have all received state disaster support, and preliminary estimates suggest a need for federal financial assistance.

“Michiganders across Southwest Michigan have been devastated by four tornadoes and severe storms, with many losing their homes and businesses,” Whitmer said. “I’m requesting a presidential disaster declaration so we can deliver critical financial assistance to support families, businesses, and communities as they recover and rebuild. Michiganders are resilient. We will get through this together, just as we always have.”

The severe thunderstorms and tornadoes that raged across southwestern Michigan last month resulted in sixteen injuries, five deaths and multiple destroyed buildings. Hail ranging in size from 1 to 4 inches broke glass and dented cars. While almost all debris has been removed, financial assistance is still needed.

“Southwest Michigan was significantly damaged by the tornadoes that struck the region in May,” U.S. Representative Bill Huizenga, R-Holland said. “While our communities are resilient, and neighbors have rallied to help those impacted by these terrible storms, it is clear there is a role for the federal government to play in supporting recovery efforts..”

Following Whitmer’s letter, FEMA will conduct further estimates to determine if Whitmer’s $4 million request is accurate. If the grants are approved, they will be used toward temporary housing, property repairs and loans to cover uninsured land.

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