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FEMA visits Detroit homes damaged by flood to assess need

Courtesy of Dan Austin

Evaluators with the Federal Emergency Management Agency went door-to-door in the City of Detroit on Thursday to survey damage following last month’s flooding rain. They’ll take their findings to the state and determine whether a disaster declaration is warranted.

Issa Mansaray is with FEMA. He says the process is still in the early stages.

“We are looking at these are looking at the assessment, look at the damages. Mind you, this is the preliminary part of it.”

Amy Otterson lives in Detroit's Jefferson-Chalmers neighborhood and says she and her neighbors could use some help.

“It hit our block really bad. We had almost touching the rafters about seven feet of standing water and sewage and myself and most of my neighbors don't have working furnaces, water tanks, washers, dryers, electrical panels submerged.”

Janet Andring has lived in Jefferson-Chalmers for 52 years. She told the investigators the water came up real high in her basement.

“I would estimate five feet.”

She eventually got her hot water heater working, but her furnace, washer, and dryer are not. Andring would like help but after hearing stories about collapsed walls and lost homes, she’s staying philosophical.

“I'm a very religious person and I thank God that I didn't get that. It's material things they can be replaced.”

After gathering information and documenting the destruction, the FEMA assessors will work with the State of Michigan to determine whether the cost of repairs overwhelms local resources. If it does, they’ll recommend a federal disaster declaration to free up money to aid the victims.

Even if the disaster declaration goes through, it would still take months for residents to see aid.

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