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Detroit seeks disaster declaration amid flooding cleanup

July 8, 2021 GMT

DETROIT (AP) — City crews and residents in Detroit are continuing the cleanup from last month’s rainstorm that left streets and hundreds of basements flooded.

In addition to getting basements cleared out and soggy debris removed from curbs, the city is seeking a disaster declaration from the federal government so homeowners can get financially reimbursed for losses due to flooding, Mayor Mike Duggan told reporters Thursday.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency paid out more than $80 million in losses following a storm and flooding in Detroit in 2014, Duggan said.

“The one this year is probably triple the size,” he said. “It is going to be an enormous amount of money, and our residents and a lot of the other communities’ residents suffered greatly.”

FEMA staffers were in Detroit and neighboring communities Thursday assessing damage from the flood, Duggan said.

Six or more inches of rain fell on the Detroit area in less than 24 hours June 25-26, leaving thousands of basements flooded in the Detroit area and across parts of southeastern Michigan. Cars and SUVs stuck in high water were abandoned on flooded freeways and many streets were impassable.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer declared a state of emergency for Detroit and other communities.

More than a week later, over 1,000 tons of furniture, clothing and other debris are being removed each day from curbs in Detroit, Duggan said.

The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department has received about 13,000 requests for service, said Gary Brown, the utility’s director.

Crews have completed about 3,000 calls to make sure sewers are clean and water is receding from basements, he added.

“We’re getting prepared for the next storm,” Brown said.