LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan National Guard is assisting the state’s response to unprecedented floods in mid-Michigan caused by the breach of the Edenville and Sanford dams.
About 130 soldiers and 40 specialized vehicles from Bay City, Saginaw, Port Huron and other nearby communities have mobilized since 4 a.m. Wednesday to evacuate citizens, augment emergency planners and prepare logistical support, officials said.
Mid-Michigan residents from the cities of Edenville, Sanford and parts of Midland have been requested to evacuate their homes due to the dangers of the massive flooding. Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer says downtown Midland could soon be covered by nine feet of water.
“Our priority is supporting the State of Michigan’s response to this situation and ensuring the safety and wellbeing of Michigan citizens,” said Major General Paul Rogers, Adjutant General and Director of the Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. “Members of the Michigan National Guard are trained to respond at a moment’s notice when their skills are called upon -- their professionalism is another reassuring example of the guard’s mission as ‘Michiganders helping Michiganders.’”
Guard members are currently equipped with light medium tactical vehicles that are capable of driving through high water amid the floods.
Officials say more than 200 soldiers and additional equipment are expected to arrive throughout the day with more guard members on standby for aviation, rescue hoist and logistical support if necessary.
Guard members are still following protocols to prevent the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) during this emergency response, officials said.
More than 20 officers from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources are also prepared to conduct search and rescue missions in mid-Michigan, officials said.
Gov. Whitmer declared a state of emergency for Midland County late Tuesday night in response to the flood crisis. Whitmer said there are currently no reported casualties as a result from the floods as of 1 p.m. on Wednesday.