FEMA assessing Mid-Michigan damage from massive flooding - WNEM TV 5

FEMA assessing Mid-Michigan damage from massive flooding

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Freemand Road in Beaverton, Gladwin County (Courtesy Steven Smith) Freemand Road in Beaverton, Gladwin County (Courtesy Steven Smith)

Federal agents arrived in Mid-Michigan to get their first look at the damage caused by last month's massive flooding. 

Eight teams fanned out Thursday to review the severity of the disaster in Bay, Gladwin, Isabella and Midland counties. 

>>Slideshow: FEMA tours Mid-Michigan<<

They won't visit every home and business, but are looking at information collected in local surveys. 

Their efforts will help determine if federal assistance is needed. 

"Pretty exciting. Hoping that they can help a lot of folks out. A lot of people were hit really hard," said Crystal Kerns, resident.

FEMA representatives paid Kerns a visit on Thursday.

"It's good to know there's people out there that are willing to come out and help and the community really needs it," Kerns said.

Jerome Township Fire Chief Bob McNett showed the representatives the hardest hit areas in Midland County.

"Happy to see them here and happy to take them around to get them the right direction and the right places they want to go," McNett said.

Many of the stops featured the absence of a homeowner.

"Several people have went to other locations because there's water damage in their house," McNett said.

FEMA spokesperson Nate Custer said what he wants flood victims to do right away.

"If they got mold on furniture, on carpet, on dry wall, if they can try to cut out some of that and take it out," Custer said.

He also wants homeowners to take pictures, keep receipts for cleanup and document everything. He said your records could probe valuable in terms of federal funding.

"If the presidential disaster declaration does occur, this information would be very helpful in looking at people's cases on a case by case basis," Custer said.

He said there is no set standard as to what type of damage makes a homeowner eligible for federal aid.

"It's more the cumulative effect of it. The widespread nature of it. The extent of the damage from neighborhood to neighborhood and county to county," Custer said.

He said FEMA will present a report to Gov. Rick Snyder as soon as possible.

"The governor has to make the formal request of FEMA saying we need a presidential disaster declaration. It's more than our local and state governments and voluntary agencies can handle," Custer said.

If Snyder submits a request it would have to be approved by President Donald Trump. When or if that happens it will pave the way for residents to get help dealing with the flood's aftermath.

"There is not a dollar amount tied to a declaration. There may be to the individual applications, as people apply there's a dollar amount that's assigned to help them get back on their feet. Not necessarily to make them whole again to where they were," Custer said.

As for Kerns, she is hoping the visit will mean dollars for many in the community who really need it.

"They lost everything in their home. I mean, all their furniture and belongings, everything. And they're not getting money to replace all that. And now they have to start out brand new. And it would just be really helpful to people who could get something," Kerns.

Count on TV5 for complete coverage of their visit on air, online and on the TV5 mobile app. 

>>Slideshow: Flooding in Mid-Michigan<<

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