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Letter to President George W. Bush


Location: Washington, DC

Obama, Durbin, Johnson Call on the President to Provide Federal Relief for Flooded Illinois Counties

More than 1000 homes were damaged during devastating flooding in Iroquois and Livingston Counties

U.S. Senators Barack Obama (D-IL) and Dick Durbin (D-IL), and Representative Tim V. Johnson (R-IL) today sent the following letter, requesting that President Bush declare Iroquois and Livingston Counties federal disaster areas so they would be eligible for federal relief after experiencing devastating flooding in January. In the past week the Illinois Emergency Management Agency has reported more than 1000 homes have been impacted, with 237 homes classified as sustaining major damage. With such significant damage, state and local governments do not have the resources required for recovery. Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich has already declared a state disaster for these counties.

"The Illinois families and businesses affected by January's flooding deserve federal relief to rebuild as quickly as possible," said Senator Obama. "I call on the President to immediately provide grants and loans so these communities can recover. I will continue working with Senator Durbin and the Illinois delegation to ensure that Illinois' communities have the resources they need to best respond to natural disasters."

"Even with the power is back on, and the storm long gone, residents and business owners are still facing a mountain of challenges," said Senator Durbin. "A Presidential disaster declaration will start the process of matching these needs with money. I will continue to work with Senator Obama, Representative Johnson and the Illinois delegation in urging the President to provide federal assistance to Iroquois and Livingston counties."

"The numbers speak for themselves," added Rep. Johnson. "Six weeks after the flood, people remain homeless, their homes uninhabitable and beyond their ability to repair. Phone service has not been completely restored. Students have not returned to school. Businesses have not reopened. Local officials and first-responders have been stretched to the limits of endurance, not to mention patience with the federal government they have looked to for help. The need is beyond compelling; it is imperative."

The text of the letter is below:

Dear Mr. President:

We write in support of the appeal dated February 21, 2008, from Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich asking that two counties in the state be declared federal disaster areas based on recent severe flooding that affected the area. Governor Rod Blagojevich has already declared a state disaster for these counties.

The areas that experienced this flooding were Iroquois and Livingston counties located in Central and East Central Illinois. In the past week, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency has been on the ground reassessing the damage that was caused by the floods. They are reporting more than 1000 homes have been impacted with 237 homes classified as sustaining major damage. These updated reports significantly increase the numbers in the initial assessment. Furthermore, multiple businesses have been affected by these floods and some are still closed a month after the flooding.

The state and local governments do not have the resources to be able to attend to the substantial damage that affected both public and private property. Consequently, it is important that federal assistance be made available as soon as possible to help with the ongoing recovery effort in Iroquois and Livingston Counties.

Mr. President, we respectfully request that you make the necessary declaration so that the State of Illinois and the affected counties can receive federal disaster assistance. We thank you in advance for your timely consideration of this important appeal and stand ready to assist in any way appropriate.


Barack Obama
U.S. Senator

Richard Durbin
U.S. Senator

Timothy V. Johnson
U.S. Representative

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