Officials calling for disaster funding for Copper Country

Photo provided by Sheila Laitinen Both U.S. senators representing Michigan and U.S. Rep. Jack Bergman representing Michigan’s First District are committing support in providing federal disaster relief aid to the Copper Country in response to Sunday’s flash flood.

HOUGHTON — Members of Congress from Michigan say they’ll support any state request for federal disaster aid in the wake of flooding in the Upper Peninsula.

Democratic Sens. Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters joined Republican Rep. Jack Bergman in offering their help to Gov. Rick Snyder.

State and local agencies are assessing damage from last weekend’s heavy rains in Houghton and Menominee counties. Floodwaters severely damaged roads and created dozens of sinkholes.

If federal assistance is needed, Snyder will make a formal request to President Donald Trump. The Federal Emergency Management Agency would have to investigate the effects on public infrastructure.

Snyder on Monday declared a state of disaster in Houghton and Menominee counties to make state resources available in the response and recovery effort.

“We understand the state of Michigan and local governments in the affected counties are conducting their assessments of the widespread damage caused by the flooding, which has severely impacted roads and resulted in dozens of sinkholes in the area. Emergency declarations are in place in Houghton and Menominee counties and the state activated the Michigan State Emergency Operations Center,” Stabenow, Peters and Bergman wrote in a joint letter to Snyder. “If the resources to assist these impacted communities in the response and recovery efforts exceed the capacity of the state and local governments, we are ready to support you in efforts to seek federal assistance.”

The letter was included in a press release issued Wednesday.

“We are committed to doing everything we can at the federal level to support those affected by this disaster,” the letter states.

Reports of up to 7 inches of rain fell on parts of the Keweenaw Peninsula Sunday, washing out multiple roadways, and causing extensive damage to homes and businesses.

Some losses incurred will never be redeemed. At least one person, a 12-year-old boy from Houghton County, was killed in the flooding, which has caused millions of dollars in damage to the region.