Durbin, Kirk, Shimkus, Costello React to Denial of Disaster Declaration for Southern Illinois

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] - U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Congressmen John Shimkus (R-IL) and Jerry Costello (D-IL) today expressed disappointment after receiving word that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has denied the State of Illinois’ appeal for a Presidential disaster declaration for five counties - Gallatin, Randolph, Saline, Union, and Williamson - in Southern Illinois that were devastated by severe storms and tornadoes three weeks ago. 


“A few days after the tornadoes touched down in Southern Illinois, I saw the damage first hand and there was no doubt that the residents and families would need the full spectrum of disaster aid available,” said Durbin.  “The fact that the federal government has denied disaster aid – and done so with little explanation – defies logic.  Hard working Americans expect that when they face these disasters, the federal government will give them a helping hand to rebuild.  I am disappointed this is not the case today.  I will be working with Governor Quinn and the entire Illinois Congressional Delegation over the next several days to identify opportunities to bring back federal funding for Harrisburg, Ridgway and the surrounding communities."


“We are extremely disappointed with FEMA's decision to deny the State of Illinois' appeal for federal assistance for the five counties affected by the deadly storms earlier this month,” said Senator Kirk. “Our office will continue to work with the entire Illinois Congressional Delegation and local and state officials to see that Gallatin, Randolph, Saline, Union, and Williamson Counties fully recover from this disaster.”


“I am extremely disappointed in this decision," said Shimkus. "I know that the charitable donations have been coming in to help the communities affected, as I see collection boxes and fundraisers as I travel my district.  We will continue to assist in every effort to help Harrisburg, Ridgway and the other areas with damaged businesses and residences.”


“I am very disappointed that the State’s appeal has been denied,” said Costello.  “These communities face a very tough rebuilding process and the full complement of federal resources would have helped.  We will fully pursue other types of federal assistance and we send our thanks to all the first responders and citizens that have given so much over the past three weeks to help those in need.”


The communities in Southern Illinois that were denied funding today remain eligible for other types of federal disaster assistance including Small Business Administration grants which provide assistance to homeowners, renters, businesses to repair or replace disaster damaged real estate, personal property, machinery, equipment, inventory and business assets.  The Governor is expected to submit requests for funding through these programs over the next few days.