FEMA assesses storm damage in Mid-Michigan

Published: Sep. 19, 2023 at 7:28 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - It can take several weeks for response teams to analyze the extent of the damage a severe storm left behind. Tuesday, emergency response teams stopped in Mid-Michigan to help communities recover from severe storms, tornadoes, and flooding that happened from August 24 - 26.

The Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division (MSP/EMHSD), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Small Business Administration (SBA), and local officials will analyze the extent of the damage in Eaton, Ingham, Ionia, and Livingston counties and determine if federal assistance is needed.

Timothy Hillock, of Grand Ledge, recalled the night his home was left in shambles. He said a tree hit him in the head. “Once. Knocked me to the floor. I was in a fetal position on the floor and it came down and hit me again.”

Hillock said part of the tree went through his trailer. “One branch went and covered the back deck and the other covered the front porch. So, we literally couldn’t get out of the house.”

Lauren Thompson, public information officer for MSP/EMHSD, said the damage is a result of seven tornadoes that touched down across the state, straight-line winds, and severe flooding.

“We have decided it’s to a level to bring FEMA in. Now, what we do is FEMA comes with us, we actually head out onto the ground – the streets, door to door and put our eyes on some of that damage.”

At this time, Thompson said, response teams are assessing uninsured damage. “So FEMA is not going to give you money for something that is covered by insurance. And also, FEMA is not a replacement for insurance.”

And looking into individual assistance for homeowners and business owners so people like Hillock can start repairing their home.

“It’s going to be a big change. Umm...it’s hard to assess,” said Hillock.

If you’re reported damage and haven’t gotten a knock on your door asking about the extent of that damage, MSP/EMHSD said you don’t need to take any additional steps. All damage is accounted for starting with the ‘hardest hit’ areas first.

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