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IEMA Appeals FEMA Denial of Tornado Assistance for Local Governments

Press Release - Thursday, February 06, 2014

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) today appealed FEMA’s denial of the state’s request for federal assistance that would help tornado-ravaged communities in nine counties recover from the Nov. 17 deadly tornado outbreak.  The appeal includes more than $21.4 million in disaster-related expenses for local governments in Champaign, Douglas, Grundy, Massac, Tazewell, Vermilion, Washington, Wayne and Woodford. 

If the appeal is approved, local governments could receive reimbursement for 75 percent of eligible disaster-related costs such as overtime, debris removal and repair and replacement of damaged public property.

“Nearly three months after that devastating day, several communities are faced with staggering expenses directly related to the historic tornado outbreak,” said IEMA Director Jonathon Monken.  “Federal assistance is critical for towns like Washington, Brookport and Gifford to clear debris that threatens public safety and rebuild their communities.”

On Dec. 19, 2013, the state requested federal Public Assistance for local governments in nine counties as an add-on to a major disaster declaration issued on Nov. 26, which made federal grants and low-interest loans available to people in 15 counties affected by the storms.  The state was notified on Jan 9 that the request for Public Assistance had been denied. 

The appeal includes new local government expenses for Champaign, Massac and Tazewell counties that were collected during joint Preliminary Damage Assessments conducted last week.  These costs were not identified during the original round of PDAs conducted just two weeks after 25 tornadoes swept across the state.

The state’s original request included $6.1 million in local government and electrical cooperative expenses.  Today’s appeal includes more than $21,450,443 in costs the state believes should be considered eligible for federal assistance.  The increase from the initial request is due primarily to the identification of additional costs for debris removal and damage to infrastructure. 

Assistance to people and businesses affected by the Nov. 17 tornadoes has already topped $23.5 million, including FEMA grants of more than $2.5 million and $21 million in low-interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

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