By Jim Hagerty
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D) plans to appeal a decision by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to deny federal assistance to nine counties hit by Nov. 17, 2013 tornadoes, his office announced Thursday, Jan. 9.
The announcement cam just hours after FEMA released a statement saying the damage did not warrant federal aid.
Quinn, however, noted that areas of Champaign, Douglas, Grundy, Massac, Tazewell, Vermilion, Washington, Wayne and Woodford counties resembled war zones after deadly winds all but flattened landscapes once littered with rooftops and picturesque skylines.
“I’m disappointed in this decision,” Quinn said. “My administration will immediately work to develop a strong appeal that demonstrates how much this assistance is needed. The State of Illinois will continue doing everything necessary to help our hardest hit communities rebuild and recover from these historic tornadoes.”
Quinn tapped FEMA for funds last December, asking for help in recovering costs of removing debris, replacing government-owned property and helping citizens rebuild homes. Even though those costs topped $6 million, they fell below the agency’s Illinois benchmark of $17.8 million.
More than 80 tornadoes ripped through the Midwest Nov. 17, causing damage from Michigan to Arkansas. The biggest impact occurred in Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois. Approximately 20 percent of Washington, Ill., a town of 15,000 just east of Peoria, was destroyed.
Seven people were killed in the storms.
More than $10 million in federal aid has already been approved. The Small Business Association (SBA) has approved $8.7 in low-interest loans to help businesses owners recover.
The state plans to appeal FEMA’s decision within 30 days, Quinn said.
Posted Jan. 9, 2014