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Costello: FEMA Needs to Explain Disaster Assistance Denial

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

U.S. Congressman Jerry Costello (D-IL) today called on the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to better explain its denial of Governor Quinn's request for a federal disaster declaration for Southern Illinois after severe storms moved through the region beginning on February 29. Seven people were killed by a tornado in Harrisburg, with significant destruction of property in Gallatin, Randolph, Saline, Union and Williamson counties. Costello supports the Governor's decision to appeal the denial and pledged his continuing assistance through this process.

"I applaud the Governor for moving quickly to appeal to this decision," said Costello. "At the same time, we need a more detailed account from FEMA as to why the request was denied," said Costello. "Given the level of damage, with sections of towns totally destroyed, it is hard to believe that the region does not qualify for assistance. This is particularly hard to understand for the families that have lost everything."

Costello emphasized that while he expects the Illinois congressional delegation to get these answers during a meeting with FEMA Administrator Fugate, a similar meeting needs to occur with the residents of the five counties affected. They need to hear this explanation as well.

"FEMA needs to explain why the storms in Kentucky were worse than the ones in Illinois," stated Costello. "We need to reassess the level of damage and make sure that everything has been fully detailed, and I urge the President and FEMA to expedite this appeal."

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