FEMA tornado damage assessment underway, continues Thursday

Federal Emergency Management Agency teams will start assessing tornado damage today in the Miami Valley.

Joined by the Small Business Administration, FEMA will tour Montgomery, Greene, Auglaize and Mercer counties for a preliminary damage assessment, according to the Ohio EMA.

FEMA will continue assessments in Montgomery and Greene counties on Thursday and then also will start in Darke and Miami counties..

The assessments will help determine is the state is eligible to receive federal assistance for those affected by Memorial Day tornadoes, according to the Ohio EMA.

“The goal of tomorrow’s assessment is to provide the state with a count of the number of destroyed homes and businesses, as well as those with minor and major damage,” said Ohio EMA Director Sima Merick. “That information will be used to determine if Ohio meets the federal guidelines and that, if any, potential federal assistance will be available to disaster survivors and businesses.”

If federal guidelines are met, Gov. Mike DeWine can request a presidential disaster declaration. President Donald Trump would then decide whether Ohio would receive any federal assistance, according to the Ohio EMA.

The federal assistance Ohio could possibly qualify for are limited grant assistance through FEMA and low-interest loans through the SBA.

If federal guidelines are not met, the state could receive assistance from other departments, such as the Ohio Development Services Agency, Treasurer of Ohio and other local long-term recovery committees.

Outside of the Miami Valley, FEMA will have an assessment in Pickaway County today and in Muskingum and Perry counties Thursday.

On Memorial Day night, 15 of the 21 tornadoes that hit Ohio touched down in the Miami Valley.