- On Tuesday, Governor Gretchen Whitmer declared a state of emergency, and called for help from the federal government.
- Gov. Whitmer also said said the directive by President Trump was a great start.
- Around 11,000 residents of central Michigan have been evacuated after two dams collapsed, causing floods in communities.
President Donald Trump approved an emergency declaration for the areas in Michigan that have been hit by floods. Trump said this after he visited Michigan on Thursday. The declaration will supplement response efforts from the local and state authorities.
The president’s action authorizes the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to coordinate all disaster relief efforts to the local population and to provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures.
On Tuesday, Governor Gretchen Whitmer declared a state of emergency, and called for help from the federal government. She called upon residents threatened by the floods to find secure places for shelter. Emergency workers were forced to go door to door, warning residents living near Edenville dam of the rising waters and urging them to evacuate.
Governor Whitmer said the directive by the president was a great start. “The federal emergency declaration is a good start because it will help us take protective measures to protect lives and property from further damage,” she said.
“These devastating floods have forced thousands of people from their homes and caused a tremendous amount of damage to our infrastructure. I’m hopeful that the federal government will soon approve the full funding request to help Michigan families rebuild after this natural disaster.”
The governor had earlier said that the damage caused by Edenvile and Sanford dams was devastating, adding that the situation has been worsened by the global coronavirus pandemic. Gov. Whitmer revealed that the state will investigate the operators of the two dams. “I think like everyone, it was hard to believe we’re in the midst of a 100-year crisis, a global pandemic, and we’re also dealing with a flooding event that looks to be the worst in 500 years,” Whitmer added.
Around 11,000 residents of central Michigan have been evacuated after two dams collapsed, causing floods in communities. The evacuation process was, however, complicated by the current coronavirus pandemic. The rapidly rising waters overwhelmed the Edenville and Sanford dams. No fatalities or injuries have been reported so far, but some sewer services have been affected, and many roads had been flooded.
The evacuated residents have been advised to take precautionary measures so as to curb the spread of the virus. “To go through this in the midst of a global pandemic is almost unthinkable. But we are here, and to the best of our ability we are going to navigate this together,” Whitmer said.
“So please, to the best of your ability, continue to wear a face covering when you go to a shelter or go stay with a friend or relative,” she added. Michigan has been a hotspot for COVID-19, and had been on a stay-at-home order. Michigan has reported more than 52,000 cases of coronavirus with 5,000 deaths. Most schools have been converted into shelters with social distance guidelines in place.
According to the National Inventory of Dams, both Sanford and Edenville dams were rated high hazards in 2018. Edenville dam was built in 1924, and has a hydropower project, which the federal regulators had rejected, claiming that it was vulnerable to flooding. Edenville Dam has been under federal scrutiny since 1999.