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September 1, 2014

FEMA Denies Aid to Tornado-Ravaged State

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FEMA Denies Aid to Tornado-Ravaged State

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has denied a federal aid request from Illinois for damage it faced in a deadly tornado that swept through the state in November. FEMA told Illinois officials that the infrastructure damage following the tornados was not severe enough to warrant the aid. 

Seven people were reportedly killed in the tornado that swept across more than a dozen counties in the state in November. Hundreds of homes and businesses were destroyed. Washington, Ill., reportedly experienced the most damage in the state and it was also denied federal aid. 

"I'm disappointed in this decision," says Gov. Pat Quinn, adding that he plans to appeal the decision. Quinn had declared 13 counties as being in a state of disaster following the tornado. The $6.1 million in aid he requested was to help cover expenses like debris removal and repairing or replacing government-owned facilities. 

FEMA officials note that Illinois’ request for aid does not meet the federal threshold for Illinois of nearly $18 million. "We can do another set of damage assessments, where state, local and FEMA teams go through the areas and look at the damage again," says Tim Tyson, a FEMA spokesman. "We'll then see if the damage assessment rises to the level of the threshold."

Source: “FEMA Denies Illinois' Request for Tornado Financial Aid,” The Wall Street Journal (Jan. 10, 2014) and “FEMA denies Washington, Illinois tornado aid,” ABC-7 WLS-TV News (Chicago) (Jan. 9, 2014)

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