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FEMA Granted Request for Expedited Damage Assessment Following Tornado in Otsego County

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  

May 24, 2022

Contact: press@michigan.gov 

 

Governor Whitmer Announces FEMA Granted Request for Expedited Damage Assessment Following Tornado in Otsego County

LANSING, Mich. – Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has granted her request for a joint Preliminary Damage Assessment (PDA) with state and local officials to help expedite review of the damages and response costs caused by an EF-3 tornado in Otsego County. The PDA is the next step in the process of asking for federal assistance.

"This assessment is a critical step in seeking federal aid for Otsego County by confirming the reported damage caused by Friday’s tornado," said Governor Whitmer. "We are expediting the damage assessment process to ensure we receive all possible assistance for the people of Gaylord, as quickly as possible. Michiganders are tough, and together, we will do what it takes to rebuild."

The joint PDA teams will be comprised of personnel from FEMA, the Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division (MSP/EMHSD), local governments and the U.S. Small Business Administration.

“This was a devastating storm. My thoughts are with the entire Gaylord community and all those who were affected by the tornado. I am also grateful to the first responders who rushed to the scene to assist victims and save lives,” said Senator Gary Peters. “My staff has been in close contact with both the Governor’s office and FEMA as they continue responding to this tragedy. As Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, I stand ready to support any requests for federal disaster assistance as needed.”

“Gaylord is the heart of Michigan’s First District. While the recovery and cleanup effort by volunteers and First Responders in Gaylord has been monumental in just three short days, the effects of Friday’s tornado will leave a lasting impact on all of Otsego County,” said U.S. Representative Jack Bergman. “I appreciate FEMA’s willingness to expedite the damage assessment process and work together with state and local leaders to complete this process. Taking these steps will allow us at the federal level to move forward to ensure all possible options for funding and relief are provided to Gaylord residents and businesses.”

Joint PDA teams are expected to begin gathering information in the affected communities Wednesday, May 24. They will be collecting estimated response and recovery costs, with a focus on the number of damaged buildings, extent of insurance coverage, displaced individuals and threats to health and safety. This PDA is part of a process that could lead to the state requesting a federal disaster declaration and additional funding from the federal government.

On Friday, May 20, an EF-3 tornado touched down in Otsego county. It left behind extensive damage to businesses, homes and property in the Gaylord area prompting Governor Whitmer to declare a state of emergency for Otsego County. By declaring a state of emergency, Governor Whitmer made available all state resources in cooperation with local response and recovery efforts in the designated area.

The declaration authorizes the MSP/EMHSD to coordinate state efforts above and beyond what MSP/EMHSD has already been doing in conjunction with local agencies.

The request letter can be found here

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