Disaster declaration approved by Pres. Trump

Published: Mar. 28, 2020 at 10:52 AM EDT
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Michigan received 112,800 N95 masks Saturday after President Donald Trump approved a major disaster declaration.

“This is great news for our front line health care workers,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in a news release Saturday. “We’ll keep working hard along with (Federal Emergency Management Agency) and the White House to get more of the personal protective equipment we need to keep Michiganders safe.”

Also, 8,000 more N95 masks are on the way, Whitmer's office said.

The declaration means Michigan is now eligible for participation in the FEMA programming to provide relief for Michiganders impacted by the coronavirus and measures to slow the spread of the virus. While Michigan made a broad request for aid in every individual assistance and public assistance program from the individual assistance category, funding was approved for the crisis counseling program and funding for emergency protective measures from the public assistance category was also approved.

Whitmer also requested critical public assistance programs such as debris removal, emergency protective measures, roads and bridges, water control facilities, buildings and equipment, utilities, parks and recreation, and other facilities.

The programs the governor requested to assist Michiganders during this time include, but are not limited to, the following categories of individual assistance: disaster unemployment assistance, disaster crisis counseling, disaster case management, individuals and households program, disaster supplemental nutrition assistance program, disaster survivor assistance, disaster legal services, and voluntary agency coordination.

These programs provide direct assistance to Michiganders through state, tribal, and local partnerships with FEMA other agencies. Disasters hit the most vulnerable first, and the programs were requested to provide relief to the homeless, those looking for legal assistance, the loved ones of individuals lost to coronavirus, those without access to water, and more

On Friday, Whitmer sent the request to President Donald Trump.

Also on Friday, Congress passed an encompassing relief package worth of $2 trillion that was quickly afterward signed by Trump.

While the relief package approved by congress on Friday will provide relief in some of the requested areas of individual assistance, including unemployment insurance assistance and disaster supplemental nutrition assistance programming under the Stafford Act, FEMA can also provide aid in these areas where they do not overlap with existing programs. Michigan requested assistance for both Disaster Unemployment Assistance and D-SNAP that have not yet been approved.

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