DEARBORN HEIGHTS, Mich. – Wayne County Executive Warren Evans said residents who were impacted by this week's flooding might be able to receive state or federal aid depending on damage assessments.
The county leader said he declared an emergency Thursday because the county's resources are tapped. He said it's a request to see if state or federal aid can be made available for the damage done to thousands of homes.
"Our assessment was that it reached the level of an emergency, and we declared a county emergency yesterday, which would then trigger the state sending accessors in to try to determine at what level funding would go from there -- FEMA or other related stuff," said Evans on Friday morning.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer did follow up and declare a state of emergency later on Thursday. Evans believes that could be a good sign that FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) money could be available for those who are dealing with extensive flooding damage.
"We wanted to make sure (to help) residents who are losing things -- structural damage to their homes, basements flooded, not everybody has the best insurance coverage or flood insurance -- people are going to be hurt as a result of this. If, in fact, the assessments from the state show that there is significant damage, then we might be eligible for FEMA funds and other dollars to help rectify the situation," said Evans.
All residents affected by the flooding need to do their best in documenting the damage and the cost of repairs.
Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (D-12th District) released a statement Friday saying she is working closely with state and local officials.
“The rising flood waters have continued to impact Dearborn and Downriver communities, closing more roads and threatening other critical infrastructure,” said Dingell. “We will continue to work closely with state and local officials, and provide resources to impacted communities. Thank you to the first responders, residents, and volunteers of Wayne County who have helped our community during this time of emergency.”
As for what caused this type of flooding, Evans said the county's infrastructure is too old and needs to be updated to handle the kind of rainfall it experienced this week.
"When you have storm water and sewage all in the same pipe, it doesn't work real well when they get overly taxed. Obviously, you have too much rain water coming in a short period of time and there is just nowhere for it to go," he said.
Watch the full interview with Evans above.