SPRINGFIELD – Governor Pat Quinn today requested federal assistance to help people, businesses, local governments and electrical cooperatives recover from a devastating storm that hit parts of southern Illinois on May 8. The storm uprooted thousands of trees, causing widespread power outages and blocking countless roads and highways. At least 260 homes in a five-county area were destroyed or suffered major damage, and storm-related costs to state and local governments and electrical cooperatives are expected to top $26 million.
“After seeing the devastation myself and reviewing the documentation compiled by our assessment teams, it’s obvious that federal assistance is needed to help these communities recover,” Gov. Quinn said. “I’m urging President Obama to act quickly on this request to speed the recovery process.”
In a letter to President Obama, Gov. Quinn requested federal assistance for local governments in Franklin, Gallatin, Jackson, Randolph, Saline and Williamson counties. If approved, local government bodies in those counties could receive reimbursement for 75 percent of their extraordinary storm-related expenses, including overtime costs and repair or replacement of storm-damaged public property.
Gov. Quinn also requested federal assistance for individuals and businesses in Franklin, Jackson, Randolph, Saline and Williamson counties. A federal declaration for individual assistance would enable people to apply for grants and low-interest loans to help them repair or replace damaged personal property, while businesses affected by the storm could apply for low-interest loans.
Shortly after the storm, the Governor declared Franklin, Gallatin, Jackson, Randolph, Saline and Williamson counties state disaster areas.
Last week, assessment teams from the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) were in southern Illinois to document the storm’s impact. Four teams surveyed damage to homes and businesses, while four others met with local officials to determine their expenses related to response and recovery from the storm.
The assessments showed that at least 69 residences were destroyed and another 191 were uninhabitable without major repairs. In addition, the cost to local governments, the electric cooperatives and state agencies for emergency response, debris removal and the repair or replacement of property is estimated to exceed $26 million.
“The number of trees and power lines brought down by this storm was unbelievable,” said IEMA Director Andrew Velasquez III. “The State of Illinois is continuing to help with the massive cleanup effort so that life in these communities can return to normal as quickly as possible.”
Road crews from the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and inmate crews from the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) on Monday began their fourth week of assisting with storm cleanup efforts in southern Illinois. Nearly 70 IDOT trucks and other heavy equipment and 19 IDOC inmate crews currently are conducting cleanup in Jackson and Williamson counties.