Rock Island, IL -- The Illinois disaster declaration has been expanded in ten counties to make all categories of public assistance available to help state and local governments for public facilities damaged or destroyed by the Mississippi River flooding of April and May, Joe M. Allbaugh, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), announced today.
Allbaugh said the decision to expand the declaration was made based on the results of continuing damage assessments in the flooded areas as the water level went down. The ten counties approved for all forms of public assistance include Adams, Calhoun, Carroll, Hancock, Henderson, Jo Daviess, Mercer, Pike, Rock Island and Whiteside.
"Ensuring that all vital community facilities are restored as quickly as possible is part of our continuing commitment to help Illinois achieve a full and lasting recovery," Allbaugh said.
The counties were previously designated for individual and public assistance in the form of debris removal and emergency protective measures only under the original declaration issued by President Bush on May 9. The additions make state, county and local governments eligible to seek reimbursement for disaster-related damage to public facilities such as roads, bridges, dams, public buildings and public parks. Certain private nonprofit organizations that provide essential community services are also eligible to seek the reimbursement.
FEMA pays 75 percent of the cost of approved projects; the state and/or local governments pay the balance. To be eligible, damage must exceed $1,000 and the work must be required as the result of the declared disaster. Federal assistance is reduced by the proceeds of any insurance coverage on the damage.
Illinois Emergency Management Agency Director and State Coordinating Officer Mike Chamness explained the public assistance grants are paid directly to the state, which then reimburses the applicants for approved specific projects. Chamness said that applicants who were unable to attend briefings held recently or who have questions about the additional categories are encouraged to call the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) at 217-782-8719.