Durbin Tours Gifford Tornado Damage

Senator Urges Storm Victims to Register For Federal Disaster Assistance

[GIFFORD, IL] – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today visited Gifford to take a firsthand look at the damage from last month’s tornado and get an update on the recovery efforts from IEMA.


“The tornado damage that I saw firsthand here in Gifford and last month in Washington is some of the worst I have ever seen,” Durbin said.  “The rebuilding process will be a lengthy one, but I wanted to come to Gifford today to see that recovery in action and learn what more I can do to help.  President Obama has approved federal assistance to help storm victims in Champaign County, and I urge the people of Gifford to contact my office if they need help accessing that aid.  As bad as things may seem, I know a year from now we’ll marvel at the progress Gifford and other communities have made in recovering from these terrible storms.”


Last Tuesday, President Barack Obama declared Illinois a major disaster area, approving Gov. Pat Quinn’s request for federal assistance.  The declaration makes federal Individual Assistance (IA) available to people and businesses in 15 Illinois counties, including Champaign County.  IA funding helps with temporary housing, home repairs or replacement, and other disaster-related expenses.  The President’s declaration renders all Illinois counties eligible for Hazard Mitigation Assistance, which includes funding to reduce future losses to public and private property.


Durbin and U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) led Illinois’ entire Congressional Delegation in submitting a bipartisan letter of support along with the Governor’s request.


Anyone impacted by the Nov. 17 tornadoes should register for the grants and low-interest loans they may be eligible for. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which administers the assistance program, has a toll-free telephone number (1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for hearing and speech impaired) for victims to apply for assistance. Registration can also be done online at www.disasterassistance.gov?.


Storm victims who require assistance registering with FEMA can contact Senator Durbin’s Springfield office at 1-217-492-4062.