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Letter to FEMA Director R. David Paulison

By:
Date:
Location: Chicago, IL


Durbin, Manzullo and Obama Continue to Push for Disaster Assistance for Rockford Flooding

Chicago, IL - U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Barack Obama (D-IL) and U.S. Representative Don Manzullo (R-IL) today announced their support of Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich's appeal following the federal government's denial of assistance to Rockford residents affected by last month's flooding.

In a letter to the Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) R. David Paulison, the members wrote, "The Governor's appeal is based on additional information provided by the State of Illinois and the City of Rockford that indicates that the damage to the private sector was of such severity and magnitude that effective recovery is beyond the capability of the State and local governments."

In the letter, which was released after the Congressional offices met with state, local and FEMA representative, the members also wrote: "The commitment by FEMA staff during this morning's meeting not to make a final decision about the appeal until the State of Illinois, in coordination with the City of Rockford, has had the necessary time to compile additional information is an important step in ensuring that FEMA thoroughly and fairly reviews the request for federal disaster assistance."

They added, "We also believe that FEMA's commitment to share with State and local officials factual data used in its damage assessment will help the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and the City of Rockford compile and present the best possible case for federal disaster assistance."

The full text of the letter is below:

October 25, 2006

The Honorable R. David Paulison
Director
FEMA
500 C Street, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20472

Dear Director Paulison:

We are writing in support of Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich's appeal for reconsideration of his September 11, 2006, request for federal disaster assistance for the City of Rockford and portions of Winnebago County affected by significant Labor Day flash flooding. As you may know, this morning, staff from our offices met with State and local officials and representatives of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to discuss the appeal. The commitment by FEMA staff during this morning's meeting not to make a final decision about the appeal until the State of Illinois, in coordination with the City of Rockford, has had the necessary time to compile additional information is an important step in ensuring that FEMA thoroughly and fairly reviews the request for federal disaster assistance. We also believe that FEMA's commitment to share with State and local officials factual data used in its damage assessment will help the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and the City of Rockford compile and present the best possible case for federal disaster assistance.

The Governor's appeal is based on additional information provided by the State of Illinois and the City of Rockford that indicates that the damage to the private sector was of such severity and magnitude that effective recovery is beyond the capability of the State and local governments. The cost to homeowners, renters, and businesses as a direct result of the flash flood is likely to be at least $8.5 million. Some of Rockford's poorest residents living in the impacted areas are uninsured and need housing assistance grants to repair their flood damaged homes. Neither the City of Rockford nor the State of Illinois is able to provide this type of grant assistance to those severely affected by the flood. Only a federal disaster declaration will open the programs necessary to help underinsured and uninsured homeowners recover from the impact of the flood on their property and provide the needed assistance.

We respectfully request that you reconsider Governor Blagojevich's request and review all the information submitted by the State to FEMA's regional office.

Sincerely,
Richard J. Durbin
United States Senator Barack Obama
United States Senator Donald Manzullo
United States Senator

http://obama.senate.gov/press/061025-durbin_manzullo_and_obama_continue_to_push_for_disaster_assistance_for_rockford_flooding/index.html

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