Mayor: FEMA individual assistance appeal denied - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Mayor: FEMA individual assistance appeal denied for southern Ill.

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HARRISBURG, IL (KFVS/AP) - Mayor Eric Gregg in Harrisburg tells Heartland News that individual assistance from FEMA has been denied again for southern Illinois. 

You may remember they filed an appeal a couple weeks back when it was original denied.

Gov. Pat Quinn expressed his disappointment Wednesday about the denial.

"At this time we are submitting a request to the U.S. Small Business Administration seeking low-interest loans that will help many people rebuild their homes and replace personal items lost in the storms. I urge the SBA to review and approve this request quickly so that people can begin to apply for those loans."

Quinn says on Thursday, staff from the Illinois Emergency Management Agency will meet with a recovery specialist from FEMA Region 5.  Quinn says they will pursue other options of assistance.

Even though the appeal was denied, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) says lawmakers will continue to work with Gov. Quinn to find answers.

"A few days after the tornadoes touched down in Southern Illinois, I saw the damage first hand and there was no doubt that the residents and families would need the full spectrum of disaster aid available," said Sen. Durbin.  "The fact that the federal government has denied disaster aid, and done so with little explanation defies logic.  Hard working Americans expect that when they face these disasters, the federal government will give them a helping hand to rebuild.  I am disappointed this is not the case today.  I will be working with Gov. Quinn and the entire Illinois Congressional Delegation over the next several days to identify opportunities to bring back federal funding for Harrisburg, Ridgway and the surrounding communities. 

Harrisburg Fire Chief Bill Summers says his southern Illinois town will recover from last month's deadly tornado with or without FEMA help.

Summers says he's not surprised that FEMA on Wednesday denied the state's appeal for disaster assistance. The agency turned down the original request, saying homeowners' insurance, local charities and state funds could cover the losses. The state appealed that decision within days.

Summers says recovery will take longer without the federal aid, but debris from the EF4 twister has been cleaned up and people are starting to rebuild.

Seven people killed when a tornado swept through town on February 29.

Gov. Pat Quinn sought assistance for five counties. He says severe storms destroyed or seriously damaged 441 homes and over 100 businesses in the poorest part of Illinois.

Still no word on the public assistance.

Copyright 2012 KFVS. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Lawmakers say FEMA denial of federal aid for southern Ill. unacceptable

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