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Snyder declares disaster for Newaygo, Osceola counties to assist response and recovery efforts

Thursday, April 17, 2014

LANSING, Mich. – Gov. Rick Snyder today declared a “state of disaster” for Newaygo and Osceola counties after severe storms, snowfall and heavy rains caused widespread flooding and wind damage from April 12 to present.

“Our state and local emergency response and volunteer services have been the backbone for responding to this incident,” Snyder said. “I commend them for their efforts in protecting the public health and safety of our citizens during the severe weather and flooding.”

By declaring a “state of disaster,” the state of Michigan will make available all state resources in cooperation with local response and recovery efforts in the disaster area as outlined in the Michigan Emergency Management Plan. Snyder's declaration authorizes the Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division (MSP/EMHSD) to coordinate state efforts.

Communities within Newaygo and Osceola counties have been severely affected by flooding and wind damage, impacting hundreds of homes, businesses and public facilities and infrastructure. Public health and safety is a concern due to damaged structures and debris, contaminated flood water, increased emergency vehicle response times caused by road and bridge closures, and loss of electric power and utility services.

“We have been actively working with our local emergency management partners in all counties impacted by the severe storms and flooding,” said Capt. Chris A. Kelenske, deputy state director of emergency management and homeland security and commander of the MSP/EMHSD. “I have directed my staff to work closely with our communities so they can receive the needed resources to respond and recover from this incident.”

Both counties declared a “local state of emergency” on April 14, activating local emergency response and recovery plans. By requesting a governor’s declaration, these counties and their communities have determined local resources are insufficient to address the situation and state assistance is required to protect public health, safety and property to lessen or avert the threat of a crisis.