State offers tornado recovery relief after FEMA denial

Mar 5, 2014

The scene of the November tornado field in Washington, IL on March 5, 2014.
Credit Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

Governor Pat Quinn is offering 45 million dollars in state funding to help Illinois communities recover from November's deadly tornadoes. That’s after FEMA’s second denial for public disaster assistance. 

An estimated two dozen tornadoes hit Illinois Nov. 17, claiming seven lives and damaging or destroying thousands of homes, businesses and other structures. Quinn visited the hardest-hit town of Washington Wednesday morning with his cabinet. 

The Governor says the money will come from the state’s capital and emergency accounts. State Emergency Management Agency Director Jonathon Monken says,“the state assistance program that has been put together by the Governor in this instance is unprecedented in the state of Illinois. We’ve never done anything like it. $45 Million is going to go an extremely long way to make sure that the promises made that these communities will rebuild is really going to come true.”

Monken says impacted communities will have a point of contact in the state to help access funding.

Quinn also visited the southern Illinois town of Brookport.

Individual FEMA funding was provided to tornado victims. But that money does not address the cost of a community’s debris removal, the damage to public streets and utilities or the dramatic loss of property taxes.

Washington Mayor Gary Manier says the state funding will allow the community to pay the bills they have been covering out of the city’s reserve funds. He says the state relief package the governor is offering means his community will be able to rebuild and remain solvent, without taking taking out a loan to it.