SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today asked President Bush to declare nine Northern Illinois counties major disaster areas as a result of flooding and severe storms in late August that damaged thousands of homes and businesses. A federal disaster declaration would enable people, businesses and local governments to apply for grants and loans to help with flood and storm-related losses. Counties included in the federal disaster declaration request include Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Lake, LaSalle, McHenry and Will.
“The storms that moved through the northeastern part of our state last month wreaked havoc with strong winds and torrential rainfall that caused rivers and streams to spill over their banks. After seeing firsthand the thousands of homes and businesses damaged by high winds and floodwaters, it’s clear that federal assistance is needed to fully recover,” said Gov. Blagojevich. “I urge the President and FEMA to quickly approve this request so that we can help these people and their communities get on the road to recovery.”
Gov. Blagojevich’s request followed damage assessments conducted over the past two weeks by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA). The agencies documented damage to homes, businesses and public property, along with excessive costs to local governments for cleanup and recovery efforts.
Nearly 70 homes were destroyed in the nine-county area, including 62 in DeKalb County and six in LaSalle County. More than 160 other homes in the area received major damage, while nearly 4,800 other homes received lesser damage. In addition, 169 businesses in the area suffered damage, including six businesses that were found to have suffered major damage.
The assessment teams also determined that costs to local and state government agencies for responding to and cleaning up after the flooding and storms could total more than $22.8 million.
If granted, the federal disaster declaration would make assistance available, including:
- Assistance for individuals and households, which can include cash grants to help with temporary housing, home repairs and replacement, medical, dental, funeral, and other disaster-related costs.
- Low-interest loans through the U.S. Small Business Administration.
- Assistance to local and state governments for extraordinary costs for response and recovery to the disaster, including emergency work, debris removal from public roads, and repair or replacement of infrastructure.
- Hazard mitigation assistance, which could help fund projects to prevent similar flooding and storm damage in the future.
Gov. Blagojevich declared the nine counties disaster areas quickly after the storms. The state worked closely with officials in the affected counties to assess the damage and offer assistance.