On March 17, President Obama announced a major disaster declaration making 60 Illinois counties eligible to apply for federal Public (Infrastructure) Assistance.
This frees up federal funds to help State, county and local governments, as well as certain private nonprofit organizations, recover from the severe snowstorm that hit these areas Jan. 31 through Feb. 3, 2011. Storm cleanup and emergency response work severely strained many county and local government coffers leaving some without funds to repair or replace damaged facilities. Others were left without adequate budgets to respond to future disasters.
People from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) are working side-by-side to meet this disaster head on.
As Federal Coordinating Officer (FCO) for this disaster, I am committed to working with our partners here to respond. More than 130 FEMA Disaster Reservists are now deployed to Illinois to support our mission.
As a team, we have taken great strides in getting disaster assistance information out to those who were affected. IEMA officials have already completed 13 Applicants’ Briefings to explain the PA process.
More than 1,400 State, county and local government agencies and certain critical nonprofit organizations already have submitted Requests for Public Assistance (RPAs) to IEMA officials announcing their intent to apply for federal assistance. More RPAs are expected before the April 16 deadline.
We are working directly with these applicants to write up project worksheets and get the funds into the hands of those eligible for reimbursement. We want to help these applicants get back to normal operations as quickly as possible.
I want to thank members of the Illinois Congressional delegation for their role in this important process. They are a vital conduit in sharing critical information from their constituents back to FEMA and the State.
We’re off to a good start, but a lot of work remains to be done.
In short, I take my responsibilities as FCO very seriously, and I assure you, FEMA will remain here as long as needed to support the State during this recovery process.