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Hare Condemns President's Delayed Action in Declaring 17th District Counties Federal Disaster Areas

Location: Washington, DC

Hare Condemns President's Delayed Action in Declaring 17th District Counties Federal Disaster Areas

Congressman Phil Hare (D-IL) today released the following statement regarding President Bush's failure to declare several 17th District counties—including Adams, Calhoun, Hancock, Henderson, Jersey, Knox, Mercer, Pike, Rock Island, and Whiteside—federal disaster areas for the purpose of individual and public assistance.

"It is simply inexplicable that President Bush has failed to make adequate federal disaster declarations for several flood-ravaged counties in my district.

"People are homeless. Towns are under water. Entire communities are waiting for the federal help they expect and deserve in the richest country in the world.

"Residents have been forced to hotels. Some are traveling longer distances to work at a time when gas prices set a new record high each and every day. They can no longer afford to foot this bill alone.

"Yesterday's disaster declaration for direct assistance fell far short of what is necessary—failing to provide funds for individuals or for public infrastructure damaged by the floods and leaving out Knox, Jersey, and Whiteside counties all together.

"Illinois emergency management officials believe the only practical application this declaration has is to provide the state with a 75 percent reimbursement for bottled water. This is unacceptable.

"It is time for President Bush to make federal assistance available to communities in my district so they can begin the process of recovering from this disaster. I will be making that request personally at a meeting with FEMA Director David Paulison today.

"President Bush has acknowledged past failures when it comes to responding to natural disasters. I urge him to learn from his mistakes and quickly make assistance available to all those who need it. My constituents are running out of patience, and so am I."

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