U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Barack Obama (D-IL) today released the following statement following President Bush's declaration of federal disaster areas for thirteen Illinois counties - Clark, Coles, Crawford, Cumberland, Jasper, Lawrence, Adams, Calhoun, Hancock, Henderson, Mercer, Pike and Rock Island - that have experienced major flooding and storm damage.
"This declaration for direct federal assistance in thirteen counties is a necessary first step that will ensure our state's emergency personnel can receive the critical resources they need and deliver them to storm and flood damaged communities. The next step will be to ensure the other federal disaster assistance is approved and begins to flow as quickly as possible.
"We will continue to do everything we can to expedite a full federal disaster declaration for the remaining counties and to ensure our state has access to every available federal resource. To this end, the Illinois Delegation will be meeting with both the Director of FEMA and the Secretary of Agriculture to discuss the details of the President's plan and to ensure a coordinated federal response in the region."
Today's declaration comes in response to Governor Rod Blagojevich's June 13th request for Direct Federal Assistance to be made available to the thirteen counties that had been declared state disaster areas at the time. Direct Federal Assistance provides reimbursement for expenditures that the State of Illinois covers food, water and other consumable commodities, and other emergency protective measures, including sandbags, installation of generators and shoring or demolition of unsafe structures. This declaration does not provide financial assistance for individuals or for public infrastructure damaged in the floods.
On June 20, Durbin, Obama and members of the Illinois Congressional Delegation sent a letter to the President advocating additional assistance including Individual Assistance and Public Assistance for twenty-one Illinois counties. This request is still pending.