CELINA — Teams from federal and state agencies will be conducting damage assessments of the region affected by last week’s tornadoes to determine if the damage qualifies Ohio for federal assistance. Teams will be in the area beginning Wednesday.
“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,” Ohio EMA Executor Director Sima Merick stated in a press release. “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.”
Federal assistance, available through Federal Emergency Management Agency and Small Business Administration, include limited grant assistance and low-interest loans. Qualification is determined by “impact criteria” set by FEMA.
If the region does not qualify, assistance may still be available from the Ohio Development Services Agency, the Treasurer of Ohio and local long-term recovery committees.
The National Weather Service confirmed 21 tornadoes landed on Ohio from Memorial Day to May 28. The tornado that struck Celina was categorized as an EF3 tornado, which is determined to have wind speeds of 136 to 165 miles per hour.
During a speech on the House floor on Monday, U.S. Rep. Bob Latta, R-Bowling Green, thanked Celina’s first responders due to their work in the region after a tornado struck the city.
“These are our first responders, our police, our fire, our emergency management, our emergency services out there. They are the ones that got out there to help, and they were on the front lines, right when it struck in the evening, and they worked all night long, all the next morning, and straight through … It is to amazing to see how the community came together,” Latta said.
A video of his remarks can be found online.