Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine sent a letter to President Donald Trump on Tuesday requesting a Presidential Disaster Declaration and federal aid in response to 21 tornadoes touching down in the western and central parts of the state in late May.
“These storms resulted in a disaster of such severity and magnitude that effective response is beyond the capability of the State of Ohio and affected local governments,” DeWine said. “Federal assistance is necessary to supplement the efforts and available resources of the state, local governments, disaster relief organizations, and compensation by insurance for disaster-related losses.”
The tornadoes, along with other severe storms, winds, flooding and landslides, caused damage in 10 different counties. Nearly 1,000 buildings – including homes – were either significantly damaged or completely destroyed and another 837 buildings took on minor damage, according to an assessment conducted last week by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Small Business Administration and Ohio Emergency Management Agency.
The letter said that the counties should be eligible for assistance through several programs, including the Individual Assistance Program, the Crisis Counseling Assistance Program, the Disaster Unemployment Assistance Program and the Disaster Case Management Program.
“The widespread destruction of homes, apartments, and businesses, particularly in the Dayton urban areas, is tragic and will require a recovery process that could stretch over a number of years,” DeWine said. “Many of the areas affected have a high percentage of low-income families that did not have insurance. These survivors may not have the means to rebuild and/or relocate without additional support.”
Just under two weeks ago, the Ohio Emergency Management Agency requested that FEMA help conduct this assessment on the tornado damage. Shortly after the tornadoes tore through the state, DeWine declared a state of emergency in three counties.
About 130 people were injured from the tornadoes and one elderly man was killed.