Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine is requesting additional disaster aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The assistance would help counties affected by the Memorial Day tornadoes pay for ongoing recovery efforts.
In a letter to FEMA, Ohio Emergency Management Agency Executive Director Sima Merick says a recent preliminary damage assessment shows the state has so far racked up more than $18 million in storm-related expenses, much of it -- around $12 million -- for debris removal.
Governor DeWine declared a state of emergency for Greene, Mercer and Montgomery Counties on May 28 after 21 tornadoes hit Ohio. He requested a Presidential Disaster Declaration June 11, which was approved by President Donald Trump on June 18.
Read the letter here.
The FEMA Public Assistance program would be open 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,” said Governor DeWine in a statement. “This request, if granted by FEMA, will help them recoup some of those expenses.”
If FEMA approves the governor's request, officials say local governments, state agencies, and certain private, nonprofits in Columbiana, Greene, Mahoning, Mercer and Montgomery counties would be eligible for federal funds to pay for eligible storm-related response and recovery efforts, including debris removal, emergency protective measures, and repairs to damaged infrastructure.
FEMA is already operating five disaster recovery centers across the Miami Valley, offering residents and business owners individual assistance.
Four of the centers will be open Thursday, July 4, to help people affected by the storm.
The centers are staffed by agents from FEMA and the United States Small Business Administration, and are offering grants, low-interest loans, and referrals to other state, federal and local nonprofit agencies that could help survivors with uninsured losses and expenses related to repairs and relocation.
But FEMA and SBA officials stress the fastest way to open a claim for disaster assistance is online at DisasterAssistance.gov; or by phone, at 800-621-3362, before showing up in person at a disaster recovery center.
Find a center closest to you at FEMA.gov.
The deadline for applications to SBA and FEMA is Aug. 19.