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Biden approves Whitmer's request for presidential declaration of disaster for Wayne, Washtenaw

a flooded interstate 94 with a submerged vehicle
Russ McNamara

President Joe Biden has issued a presidential declaration of disaster for Wayne and Washtenaw Counties, following severe storms and flooding on June 25-26 that impacted homes and businesses around the region.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer requested that Biden issue a presidential declaration on Tuesday, July 13. She declared a state of emergency in Wayne County on June 26, then extended that to Washtenaw County on July 8. 

This declaration makes federal funds available to residents in those two counties who were imapcted by the flood, including money from FEMA.

Debra Pospiech is the general counsel for the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department. She said DWSD has been in contact with FEMA about claims.

"We did inquire whether FEMA would accept our form, the DWSD form, as an attachment to their form or in lieu of their form, and the answer was no. They have their own process, and it will be duplicated," she said.

Palencia Mobley is the deputy director of DWSD, which she says has received thousands of claims from residents about flood damages.

"Some of the information may be very similar: name, address. You know, are you a homeowner or a renter, depth of water in the basement, pictures, receipts, contractors’ invoices, estimates for what you may have spent for removal and cleaning," she said.

Other items that DWSD asks for that might be applicable to the FEMA form are whether or not the resident has insurance, do they have sewage backup in their insurance, and do they have flood insurance, according to Mobley.

She says if a resident has already submitted a claim to DWSD, it shouldn't be too difficult to prepare forms for FEMA.

"What we hope is that once people have gathered that information, they won’t be having to gather that same information for FEMA again because it will already be concise and put together," she said.

Those in Wayne and Washtenaw Counties who suffered damages can can begin the FEMA process by going to disasterassistance.gov or call 1-800-621-FEMA(3362), or 1-800-462-7585 for those with hearing and speech impairments.

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Caroline is a third year history major at the University of Michigan. She also works at The Michigan Daily, where she has been a copy editor and an opinion columnist. When she’s not at work, you can find her down at Argo Pond as a coxswain for the Michigan men’s rowing team. Caroline loves swimming, going for walks, being outdoors, cooking, trivia, and spending time with her two-year-old cat, Pepper.
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