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Public Statements

Letter to The Honorable George W. Bush, President

Durbin, Obama: IL Delegation Members Urge President Bush to Provide Federal Assistance to Illinois Counties Affected by September Storms

U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Barack Obama (D-IL) were joined by members of the Illinois Congressional Delegation today in asking President Bush to provide Public Assistance to Illinois counties affected by storms beginning September 13, 2008. Governor Blagojevich has already declared seven counties state disaster areas including: Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, LaSalle, and Will. Public Assistance funds provide aid to state and local governments and non-profit organizations for debris removal or for repair or replacement of disaster-damaged facilities and infrastructure.

"In September, severe weather associated with Hurricane Ike caused record-breaking torrential rainfall and led to widespread flooding in northeast Illinois. The storms and flooding caused thousands of evacuations and at least two deaths, affected or damaged over 2500 residences and nearly 200 businesses, backed up sewers, and closed roads," the Illinois members wrote. "We respectfully request that you ensure local governments receive the federal disaster assistance essential for a successful recovery."

Durbin and Obama were joined by Representatives Melissa Bean (D-IL), Judy Biggert (R-IL), Jerry Costello (D-IL), Rahm Emanuel (D-IL), Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), Tim Johnson (R-IL), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Ray LaHood (R-IL), Dan Lipinski (D-IL), Don Manzullo (R-IL), Peter Roskam (R-IL), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), John Shimkus (R-IL) and Jerry Weller (R-IL) in their request for federal assistance.

Last week the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) approved a request for all seven counties to receive both Individual Assistance and Hazard Mitigation Assistance. According to FEMA, Individual Assistance provides assistance to households for rent, repairs, replacement of home and personal goods up to a maximum of $28,800 per household. FEMA aid is designed to complement rather than replace private insurance, so any claims paid by private companies will be taken into account in the determination of a FEMA grant. To be eligible for individual assistance, affected residents must apply for assistance with FEMA. The Hazard Mitigation Grant Program provides grants to state and local governments to implement long-term hazard mitigation measures after a major disaster declaration. The purpose of the program is to reduce the loss of life and property due to natural disasters and to enable mitigation measures to be implemented during the immediate recovery from a disaster.

Text of letter below:

October 8, 2008

The Honorable George W. Bush
The President
The White House
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President:

We write to support Governor Rod Blagojevich's request for Public Assistance for seven counties in the State of Illinois affected by severe storms, flooding, and flash flooding beginning September 13, 2008, and continuing. Governor Blagojevich has already declared these counties state disaster areas: Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, LaSalle, and Will.

In September, severe weather associated with Hurricane Ike caused record-breaking torrential rainfall and led to widespread flooding in northeast Illinois. The storms and flooding caused thousands of evacuations and at least two deaths, affected or damaged over 2500 residences and nearly 200 businesses, backed up sewers, and closed roads. According to a recent assessment by the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, flood-related expenses totaled nearly $27.4 million for the seven counties declared state disaster areas.

This is the sixth major flood event to impact Illinois in the past 13 months, including historic levels of flooding in June, exhausting the resources of state and local governments. We appreciate FEMA's assistance to date, including Individual Assistance for flood victims in these seven counties and Hazard Mitigation statewide. We respectfully request that you ensure local governments receive the federal disaster assistance essential for a successful recovery. We thank you in advance for your timely consideration of this urgent request and stand ready to assist in any way appropriate.


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