Washington, DC -- The head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced today that federal disaster aid has been made available for Illinois to help families and businesses recover from the effects of a recent series of severe storms that struck the southern end of state.
FEMA Director Joe M. Allbaugh said President Bush authorized the assistance under a major disaster declaration issued for the state following a review of the agency's analysis of the state's request for federal relief. The declaration covers damage to private property from the storms, tornadoes and flooding that began April 21.
"The President's declaration is an important step in Illinois' recovery," Allbaugh said. "Individuals, families and businesses need help, and we will do everything we can to quickly provide relief to everyone who needs it."
Immediately after the President's action, Allbaugh designated the following 30 counties eligible for aid to affected residents and business owners: Alexander, Clay, Clinton, Edwards, Effingham, Fayette, Franklin, Gallatin, Hamilton, Hardin, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Johnson, Madison, Marion, Massac, Monroe, Perry, Pope, Pulaski, Randolph, Richland, St. Clair, Saline, Union, Washington, Wayne, White and Williamson.
The assistance, to be coordinated by FEMA, can include grants to help pay for temporary housing, emergency home repairs and other serious disaster related expenses. Low interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration also will be available to cover residential and business losses not fully compensated by insurance.
In addition, Allbaugh said federal funds will be provided for the state on a cost-shared basis for approved projects that reduce future disaster risks. He indicated that damage surveys are continuing and more counties and additional forms of aid may be designated later based on the results of the assessments.
Robert R. Colangelo of FEMA was named by Allbaugh to coordinate the federal recovery effort. Colangelo said residents and business owners who sustained losses in the designated counties can begin the disaster application process by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362), or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired. The toll free telephone numbers will be available starting Wednesday, May 22, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week until further notice.