FEMA Denies Ill. Aid to for Last Month’s Severe Weather

August 25, 2006

Illinois’ damage from last month’s severe weather wasn’t enough to get millions of dollars in financial help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the agency has told Gov. Rod Blagojevich and the state’s emergency management office.

Blagojevich’s office pledged to work with the state’s congressional delegation to appeal within 30 days FEMA’s decision, which was announced Wednesday.

In the wake of the storms that hit the Metro East and other parts of southern Illinois on July 19 and July 21, FEMA said it factored in how much home insurance was available in the area, accessibility of local loans and grants, and the number of volunteer agencies that could provide services.

“It was determined that damages were not of the severity or magnitude as to be beyond the capabilities of the state and local affected governments,” FEMA spokesman James McIntyre said. “FEMA is not allowed to duplicate services.”

After the storms, Blagojevich declared Jefferson, Washington, St. Clair, Madison and Clinton counties state disaster areas, paving the way for state assistance and for local governments to be reimbursed for extraordinary costs incurred with disaster cleanup and response.

“Even with state assistance, there still was a financial burden on communities,” said Patti Thompson, an Illinois Emergency Management Agency spokeswoman.

The state determined that the estimated cost for public assistance was $1.1 million in St. Clair County and $3.6 million in Madison County, with 13 homes in those jurisdictions destroyed.

After the state’s appeal of FEMA’s denial of aid is filed, FEMA will send out a crew to reassess the area to see if the challenge has merit.

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