UPDATE 12:21pm 08/13/2014
DETROIT, MI – Governor Rick Snyder flew in a Michigan State Police helicopter today to survey the damage caused by the historic floods that hit the metro Detroit area. He even stated to the media that this is the “worst flooding I have ever witnessed”.
Thousands of photos, untold amounts of video have been taken of the incredible damage that the torrential rains caused. It is uncertain at this hour why Snyder has yet to declare a State of Emergency. He was given a birds eye view of the very worst of the worst. Upon seeing the damage, he should have immediately made the declaration. The governor is responsible for coping with dangers to this state or the people of this state presented by a disaster or emergency.
Infrastructure which include roads, bridges, electrical, lighting have been damaged. Thousands of businesses and homes have been hit by the historic flooding that occurred on August 12th, 2014. The interchange between I-75 and I-696 has 14 feet of standing water in the roadway.
Upon declaring a state of disaster or a state of emergency, the governor may seek and accept assistance, either financial or otherwise, from the federal government, pursuant to federal law or regulation. It is going to take a vast amount of money from the local and state government. So much money that no local or state government will be able to pay for alone. Once the declaration has been put into effect, it also opens the doors to federal help. So what is the hold up?
Sara Wurfel, Snyder’s spokeswoman, stated that the governor’s office won’t take action on a request for an emergency declaration until it gets a better sense of the scope of the damage in metro Detroit. This statement from Snyder’s office is amazingly woeful given the fact that no less than three major arteries in and out of Detroit are closed to all traffic until cleanup and immediate, necessary repairs are completed for the safety of drivers. Those freeways are part of the federal highway system but the federal government is only responsible for their portion of issues and the local and state governments are on the hook for the rest.
Wayne County has declared a state of emergency for its 43 communities and called on Gov. Rick Snyder to do the same, “so that state and federal resources may be made available to our local communities and citizens,” Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano is quoted saying in a news release. Warren and Ferndale have also declared states of emergency and Royal Oak was considering declaring one.
Once and if Gov. Snyder does declare a state of emergency and asks for federal assistance, the president could issue a major disaster declaration and provide public assistance for things like repairing infrastructure and public facilities; assistance to households and businesses; and hazard mitigation assistance to reduce future losses to public and private property.
The destruction that has been caused by the floods at this moment is still unfolding. But even as more is learned, Gov. Snyder needs to take immediate action to get federal assistance flowing into Michigan.