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FEMA denies aid for twister damage

Published: Friday, Jan. 10, 2014 1:15 a.m. CDT

CHICAGO (AP) – Gov. Pat Quinn said Thursday that Illinois would appeal the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s denial of the state’s request for $6.1 million in aid to local governments after deadly tornadoes in November.

FEMA sent a letter to the Illinois Emergency Management Agency saying that infrastructure damage after the storms wasn’t severe enough to warrant federal help. At least seven people were killed statewide and hundreds of homes and businesses destroyed. Washington, near Peoria, was severely damaged.

“I’m disappointed in this decision,” Quinn said in a news release. U.S. Sens. Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk also put out a statement saying they are disappointed with the agency’s decision as well and support Quinn’s appeal.

The federal government has previously approved millions of dollars in storm aid for Illinois residents. That includes $2 million from FEMA for individuals and $8.7 million in low-interest loans from the Small Business Administration. Thursday’s decision affects Champaign, Douglas, Grundy, Massac, Tazewell, Vermilion, Washington, Wayne and Woodford counties.

The $6.1 million would have covered expenses including emergency protective measures, debris removal, and repairing or replacing government-owned facilities.

IEMA spokeswoman Patti Thompson said cities such as Washington will have debris removal issues for the near future.

“Those costs are just going to keep going up,” she said.

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