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Letter to Barack Obama, President of the United States - Durbin, Kirk, Delegation Call on President to Provide Federal Public Assistance for Southern and Central Illinois Counties

U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) were joined by the entire Illinois Congressional Delegation today sending a letter to President Obama asking him to provide Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Public Assistance to help nine Illinois counties recover from the deadly tornadoes that struck the state on November 17, 2013.

"The tornado damage from severe storms this fall in Central and Southern Illinois that I saw firsthand was some of the worst I have ever seen," said Durbin. "It will take months and even years to rebuild. Additional help is needed to give families in Central and Southern Illinois some relief, especially so close to the holiday season. I thank President Obama for declaration of Individual Assistance and hazard mitigation assistance last month, which is already helping many in my state recover from these horrible storms."

"Having seen firsthand the devastation that November's tornadoes brought to thousands of Illinois families, I strongly urge President Obama to provide adequate public assistance and relief to the families and communities affected by these storms," Sen. Kirk said. "The counties affected are facing millions of dollars in damage repairs, and would greatly benefit from further assistance by our Federal government in order to begin the process of rebuilding."

Today, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn sent a letter to President Obama requesting FEMA Public Assistance for nine Illinois counties -- Champaign, Douglas, Grundy, Massac, Tazewell, Vermilion, Washington, Wayne, and Woodford -- due to immense storm damage. Governor Quinn noted that the federal Public Assistance would remove debris, repair damage to public water systems, and continue day-to-day operations as recovery from the disaster continues over the next several months.

Members signing on to today's letter include Representatives Cheri Bustos (D-IL), Danny Davis (D-IL), Rodney Davis (R-IL), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Bill Enyart (D-IL), Bill Foster (D-IL), Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), Randy Hultgren (R-IL), Robin Kelly (D-IL), Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), Dan Lipinski (D-IL), Mike Quigley (D-IL), Peter Roskam (R-IL), Bobby Rush (D-IL), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Brad Schneider (D-IL) Aaron Schock (R-IL), and John Shimkus (R-IL).

[Text of the letter below]

December 19, 2013

The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States
The White House
Washington, DC

Dear Mr. President:

We write in support of Illinois Governor Pat Quinn's request for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Public Assistance for nine Illinois counties to help them recover from the deadly tornadoes that struck our state on November 17, 2013. Federal assistance is needed in Champaign, Douglas, Grundy, Massac, Tazewell, Vermilion, Washington, Wayne, and Woodford Counties. Governor Quinn indicates that federal Public Assistance is needed to help the affected communities remove debris, repair damage to public water systems, and continue day-to-day operations as recovery from the disaster continues over the next several months.

Twenty-five tornadoes touched down in Illinois that day, killing six people in our state. Two of the tornadoes were category EF4, with wind speeds up to 200-miles per hour. The weather event was the fourth largest November tornado outbreak in U.S. history and the largest in Illinois history. The state has dedicated significant resources to the response and recovery effort, but federal help is needed.

Thank you for your disaster declaration on November 26, in which 15 counties were given federal Individual Assistance. Grants from this program are helping people in Illinois find temporary housing and begin repairing their homes. About 1,000 homes in the state were rendered uninhabitable due to the tornadoes.

We respectfully request that you make the necessary declaration so that these counties can receive the assistance they need. We thank you in advance for your timely consideration of this important request and stand ready to assist in any way appropriate.


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