Gov. Quinn announces $45 million state relief package for counties affected by deadly November tornadoes

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Gov. Quinn announces $45 million state relief package for counties affected by deadly November tornadoes

Homes are destroyed in Gifford, Ill., after tornadoes tore through the town.

Homes are destroyed in Gifford, Ill., after tornadoes tore through the town.

Homes are destroyed in Gifford, Ill., after tornadoes tore through the town.

Homes are destroyed in Gifford, Ill., after tornadoes tore through the town.

By Daily Illini Staff Report

After the Federal Emergency Management Agency denied the state of Illinois’ appeal for local government assistance in January for tornado relief, Gov. Pat Quinn announced a $45 million state relief package Wednesday.

Quinn requested the funds for disaster aid to help nine counties rebuild after tornadoes passed through the state on Nov. 17. The state relief package will provide assistance to the local governments of the those nice counties, which were: Champaign, Douglas, Grundy, Massac, Tazewell, Vermilion, Washington, Wayne and Woodford as well as the municipalities of Washington, Brookport, Gifford, New Minden, Diamond, Coal City and East Peoria.

The bill assigns a specific weight to each of the factors already used by FEMA and adds other economic factors for the agency to consider when determining whether or not an area should receive federal assistance.

“Our tornado-ravaged communities need help and they need it now,” Governor Quinn said in a press release. “While it’s disappointing that our request for federal disaster relief was denied due to outdated rules, the state of Illinois is committed to providing assistance to communities that need it. Recovery won’t happen overnight but this aid will help people rebuild their lives.”

Gov. Quinn recently addressed the National Journal’s Disaster Forum in Washington, D.C. and stressed the need to reevaluate the current FEMA disaster aid criteria. Gov. Quinn, along with Senator Dick Durbin and Illinois’ congressional delegation, wants “a clearer, more substantive formula when evaluating natural disasters,” according to the press release.

They hope to change the “flawed system that places small and rural communities in highly populated states at a disadvantage in the federal disaster declaration process,” stated the press release.

After the tornadoes occurred in November, Gov. Quinn deployed state resources and personnel to aid those affected by the tornado. Nine days after the storm, Gov. Quinn secured federal aid in 15 counties which included $23.5 million in grants and loans.