With over a week since the devastating tornado hit Brookport and the Unionville area on Nov. 17, this week saw the return of Gov. Pat Quinn, a visit from Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon, a tour of the Red Cross facility by Regional Red Cross CEO Cindy Erickson, the opening of the Brookport Bridge and Brookport students returning back to school.
Governor asks President
to declare major disaster
Quinn asked President Barack Obama Monday to declare 15 Illinois counties major disaster areas to help people and businesses recover. Quinn requested a federal disaster declaration for Champaign, Douglas, Fayette, Grundy, Jasper, LaSalle, Massac, Pope, Tazewell, Vermilion, Wabash, Washington, Wayne, Will and Woodford counties.
“The lives of thousands of people across Illinois were torn apart by this deadly outbreak of tornadoes,” Quinn said. “We expedited the damage assessment process in order to submit this request and the required documentation as soon as possible. I encourage President Obama to quickly approve this request and help our communities recover and rebuild.”
Quinn made the request after five teams — comprising personnel from the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and local officials — assessed damage in the areas hit.
The teams identified 2441 homes that were damaged, including 781 homes that were destroyed.
The teams completed their assessments in less than four days.
If Quinn’s request is approved, people in the approved counties would be eligible to apply for grants and low-interest SBA loans. In addition, affected businesses would be able to apply for low-interest SBA loans.
Representatives from IEMA and FEMA will meet with local government officials beginning in early December to document expenses related to the tornadoes and storms, including emergency protective measures, debris removal and repair or replacement of roads, bridges and other public facilities.
That information could be used to support a request for federal assistance to help state and local governments recoup a portion of eligible tornado-related expenses.
Under the governor’s direction, the state continues to support recovery efforts in several communities hard hit by the tornadoes. The State Incident Response Center in Springfield is activated to coordinate deployment of state assets and personnel in response to requests from affected areas. Trucks and heavy equipment from the Illinois Department of Transportation and inmate crews from the Illinois Department of Corrections continue to assist with removal of massive amounts of debris in communities.
IEMA personnel were deployed to impacted communities, where they continue to coordinate with local officials on a variety of disaster-related issues.
The state also continues to provide law enforcement officers to assist with security and other issues in affected communities.
Several state and local agencies helped tornado survivors with a variety of issues at the Multi-Agency Resources Center (MARC) set up in Brookport, which was set up at Brookport Elementary School Monday and Tuesday. The Illinois departments of Human Services, Insurance and on Aging had staff present, and the Secretary of State’s Office was on hand to help residents with driver’s licenses, vehicle registration and other issues.
Kirk and Durbin join
delegation asking support
U.S. Sens. Mark Kirk and Dick Durbin were joined by the entire Illinois Congressional Delegation Monday sending a letter to Obama asking him to issue a major disaster declaration for the State of Illinois.
“Gov. Quinn indicates that the damage to homes and businesses in these counties is of such severity and magnitude that effective response and recovery is beyond state and local capabilities,” the Illinois delegation wrote.