Flooding across Mid-Michigan

FEMA announced it will be doing most of its damage assessment virtually instead of in-person out of safety concerns due to COVID-19.

FEMA Regional Administrator James Joseph said typically local and state official would go neighborhood to neighborhood to assess the damage.

Michigan State Police are capturing aerial photography to assess the damage.

Local communities will initially assess the damage, then the state validates what was found, after that the joint preliminary assessment is doing with FEMA according to Joseph.

FEMA also has employees in Michigan if it needs team members on the ground.

Sen. Debbie Stabenow said the dam owner “slow-walked and fought federal regulators, stonewalled regulators for years as well as for the state.”

She said the privately-owned dam could have been addressed before if the owner stepped up years ago.

Sen. Gary Peters said there needs to be more transparency for the people who live near these dams.

He added the companies that own the dams must be responsible for keeping them up to standard.

"The increasing number of dams and other infrastructure in Michigan and in the county are falling into disrepair and we need to start fixing them, prioritize those dams and structure that need immediate action," Peters said.

Peters said as the rebuilding process starts, dams in the communities need to be replaced and prepared for tragedies in the future.

He said dams throughout the state are deteriorating and Michigan needs to improve to make sure this doesn’t happen in other communities.

Stabenow also urged future investments in infrastructure on the state and federal level.

Copyright 2020 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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