FEMA denies Illinois’ aid request for tornado-ravaged towns
BY JON SEIDEL Staff Reporter January 9, 2014 3:38PM
Aerial view of the devastation in Washington, Ill., after a tornado ripped through the central Illinois town on Nov. 17. The severe weather and tornados in Illinois claimed six lives throughout the state. | Jessica Koscielniak/Sun-Times
Updated: February 11, 2014 6:28AM
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has denied Illinois’ request for assistance for local governments recovering from a deadly November storm, according to Gov. Pat Quinn’s office.
Quinn’s office released a statement Thursday that said his administration will appeal the decision.
“While we appreciate FEMA’s partnership in helping individuals and businesses recover, I’m disappointed in this decision,” Quinn said.
Quinn sought help recovering from the Nov. 17 storms for local governments in Champaign, Douglas, Grundy, Massac, Tazewell, Vermilion, Washington, Wayne and Woodford counties.
The request, according to Quinn’s statement, included documentation of tornado-related expenses such as emergency protective measures, debris removal and repair or replacement of government-owned facilities.
Those costs, which Quinn’s office said totaled more than $6.1 million, were compiled by FEMA and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency in a joint damage assessment. But they fell short of the federal threshold of $17.8 million for Illinois, based on the state’s population multiplied by $1.35.
Quinn’s office said that calculation hurts the chances of aid for states with large geography and big urban centers, like Illinois.
“The state of Illinois will continue doing everything necessary to help our hardest-hit communities rebuild and recover from these historic tornadoes,” Quinn said.