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Snyder declares state of emergency in southeast Michigan, requests federal help

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Governor Snyder declared parts of southeast Michigan a “disaster area” Wednesday after this week’s widespread flooding.

The Governor issued an official declaration of disaster for Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties. In a statement accompanying it he called the flood damage in southeast Michigan “a disaster in every sense of the word.”

The declaration stated that Monday’s flooding “has threatened public health and safety due to widespread and severe damage to homes, businesses, public facilities, and infrastructure” in those counties.

It goes on to say that “local resources have been insufficient to address the situation”—and pledges the Michigan State Police will “coordinate and maximize” state efforts to assist in the disaster area.

The declaration came after Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson asked Snyder to declare a disaster situation, saying local governments just can’t handle clean-up and repairs on their own.

“Specifically, I request the following state assistance to supplement local response and recovery efforts: debris removal, repair of all damages related to flooding, repair or replacement of damaged equipment, and over-time costs for first responder, public works crews and other employees involved in cleanup activities, funding assistance related to all noninsured public and private properties, and support through the recovery process,” Patterson wrote in a letter Snyder Wednesday.

Patterson also declared a state of emergency in Oakland County--joining several of its cities and Wayne County in seeking state and federal help.

Hours later, Snyder announced that the state is indeed “pursuing all potential avenues of assistance, including applicable federal relief programs,” pledging to “target all available means to help with property damage, service disruptions and health and wellness issues during this difficult time.”

A bipartisan group from Michigan’s Congressional delegation, along with state and local officials, had urged Snyder to seek federal aid. And Mark Schauer, Snyder’s Democratic opponent for Governor, criticized him for not acting sooner.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Radio in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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