Storm-struck areas unlikely to see federal aid

Damage at the LaSalle County Nursing Home in Ottawa after a tornado struck, Feb. 28.

Local emergency managers across Illinois are adding the damage from last week’s storms, and there is real concern it may not be enough to qualify for federal help.

The counties and towns hit by last week’s storms may have to pay for clean-up and recovery on their own.

County emergency managers across Illinois are using this week to tabulate the damage.

LaSalle County EMA chief Connie Brooks said she has to calculate damage to homes, small business damage, and then damage and costs for local government.

All three are separate, and all three may fall short of the $18 million price tag for federal help.

“There is a per-capita threshold that has to be met, not only in the county, but in the state of Illinois,” Brooks said. “So even if the county meets the threshold, if the state of Illinois doesn’t, then we won’t get a public assistance declaration.”

It’s tougher to hit the damage threshold downstate. Many of last week’s tornadoes hit farm ground and smaller communities.

The state of Illinois’ help is also included in the total. But Illinois Emergency Management Agency spokeswoman Patti Thompson said cities and counties didn’t ask for that much help this time around.

“A lot of the cleanup is being done with local resources, though [the state] did have some inmate crews and Department of Transportation crews that went out,” Thompson said.

Thompson said the storm damage total won’t include any of the damage to people’s homes.

Brooks said homeowners could see some federal help, but only if 40 percent didn’t have insurance.

Illinois saw nearly a dozen tornadoes in about a half dozen counties last Tuesday. Both Brooks and Thompson say the storms serve as a vital reminder about the importance of being ready for severe weather.

This week is Severe Weather Preparedness Week in Illinois.

–Illinois News Network

You might also like

Enjoy The Rock River Times? Help spread the word!