OTSEGO COUNTY, Mich. (WLNS) — For Otsego County, help is on the way.

According to Governor Gretchen Whitmer, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) granted a joint Preliminary Damage Assessment (PDA) to help do a faster review of damages and cost analysis of the EF-3 tornado that hit the Gaylord area last week.

This assessment is a critical step in seeking federal aid for Otsego County by confirming the reported damage caused by Friday’s tornado. We are expediting the damage assessment process to ensure we receive all possible assistance for the people of Gaylord, as quickly as possible. Michiganders are tough, and together, we will do what it takes to rebuild.”  

Governor Gretchen Whitmer

PDA teams will consist of members from FEMA, the Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division (MSP/EMHSD), local governments and the U.S. Small Business Administration.   

The damage assessment team is set to begin Wednesday.

In addition to PDA efforts, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is offering to replace food that was purchased through the Food Assistance Program.

The food replacement service is only available to those who already receive food assistance benefits.

The deadline to request food replacements is 10 days after the storm,

For those who suffered significant damage to their homes, the State Emergency Relief program can give help to anyone facing extreme hardship or for emergencies that threaten health and safety.

The program is available to residents that need help with home repairs necessary to correct unsafe conditions and restore essential services.

“MDHHS is prepared to help Gaylord-area residents who suffered losses due to this terrible storm,” said MDHHS Director Elizabeth Hertel. “No one should have to worry about having food for their families or living in an unsafe home because of damages from the tornado.”

Applicants must be the owner or purchaser of the home and meet other eligibility requirements to qualify.