Ohio requests FEMA assistance after tornadoes, flooding

Zoe Greszler • Updated Jul 4, 2019 at 11:43 AM

Ohio officials have asked the federal government to open its public assistance program to five counties impacted by the severe storms the last week of May.

“Local governments in five counties and the State of Ohio have spent millions responding to the Memorial Day storms and have suffered millions more in damages,” Gov. Mike DeWine said. “This request, if granted by FEMA, will help them recoup some of those expenses.”

If FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) approves the request, local governments, state agencies and certain private, non-profit organizations in Columbiana, Greene, Mahoning, Mercer and Montgomery counties would be eligible for federal funds for eligible storm-related response and recovery efforts, including debris removal, emergency protective measures, and damaged infrastructure.

In a letter sent today to FEMA, Ohio Emergency Management Agency executive director Sima Merick wrote that a preliminary damage assessment completed last week shows about $18.1 million in eligible costs, of which two-thirds, or about $12 million, is for debris removal.

DeWine declared a state of emergency for three of these counties — Greene, Mercer and Montgomery — on May 28 after 21 tornadoes hit Ohio. He requested a Presidential Disaster Declaration on June 11, which was approved by President Trump on June 18. Today’s request for FEMA assistance to government entities is an addendum to the ongoing disaster declaration.

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