Gov. Blagojevich announces Sangamon
County approved for federal disaster assistance for people,
businesses and governments affected by March 12 tornadoes
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declaration also includes assistance for affected governments in
Greene, Logan, Morgan and Scott counties
[MARCH 29, 2006]
SPRINGFIELD -- Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich has
announced that the federal government approved his request for
federal assistance for people, businesses and governmental bodies in
Sangamon County affected by tornadoes that struck the area March 12.
The federal disaster declaration also includes assistance for local
governments in Greene, Logan, Morgan and Scott counties.
"People in Sangamon County are still picking up the pieces left by
tornadoes that struck the area earlier this month," Blagojevich
said. "We appreciate this disaster declaration because it will open
doors for grants and loans for the people, businesses and
governments that suffered losses from these storms. And while we're
pleased that assistance to local governments in four other counties
also was approved, we will continue to work with FEMA to try to get
assistance for people in those areas who are struggling to recover."
On March 17, Blagojevich sent a letter to President Bush requesting
the federal disaster declaration for Greene, Logan, Morgan,
Sangamon, Scott and Randolph counties. The letter outlined the
extent of damage to homes, businesses and governmental buildings in
the six-county area, as well as extraordinary expenses incurred by
local and state government for storm response and recovery efforts.
More than 60 homes were destroyed in the six counties, including
40 in Sangamon County. Nearly 130 homes in those areas received
major damage, meaning repairs are needed before residents can return
to their homes. Another 840 homes received minor damage from the
storms. In addition, 80 businesses suffered major damage and another
160 received minor damage.
Estimated storm-related costs to state and local government total
more than $37 million in debris removal, emergency protective
measures and damage to infrastructure, buildings, equipment and
The federal disaster declaration enables residents and business
owners in Sangamon County whose homes or businesses were damaged or
destroyed to apply for federal assistance programs. The Federal
Emergency Management Agency, which administers the assistance
program, will open a toll-free telephone line Thursday for victims
to apply for assistance. The toll-free numbers, (800) 621-FEMA
 or TTY 1 (800) 462-7585 for hearing- and
speech-impaired, will operate from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. local time seven
days a week until further notice. Registration can also be done
online at www.fema.gov.
Assistance can include cash grants to help with temporary
housing, home repairs and replacement, medical, dental, and other
disaster-related costs. Home and business owners may also qualify
for low-interest loans through the U.S. Small Business
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Local and state governments in the five approved counties can
apply for financial assistance to defray costs associated with
response and recovery to the disaster, including emergency work,
debris removal from public roads, and repair or replacement of
infrastructure. The federal assistance will cover 75 percent of
Following a March 13 tour of devastation in Springfield,
Blagojevich declared seven counties state disaster areas and pledged
state resources to assist affected communities with recovery
efforts. State assistance to date has included the following:
More than 1,100
inmates from the Department of Corrections assisting with debris
eight loaders, four track hoes, four backhoes, two tub grinders,
two light platforms, six generators, one air-curtain burner and
one bulldozer from the Department of Transportation to assist
with debris removal and disposition.
Department of Human
Services caseworkers have processed approximately 2,000 cases to
help storm victims restore food stamp money to Link cards, for
people who lost food they had previously purchased. The
department is also helping connect people to all community
A Department of
Human Services line, (800) 568-0446, has fielded questions from
more than 300 people since it was established Monday afternoon.
The Illinois State
Police have provided security assistance.
Department of Public Health arranged for porta-potties to
accommodate large numbers of weekend volunteers in Springfield.
Emergency Management Agency operated the State Emergency
Operations Center throughout the week to direct state resources
to communities requesting assistance. Staff from the agency also
sent liaisons to local emergency operations centers to
coordinate assistance requests.
[News release from the governor's
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