FEMA denies disaster aid for tornado-torn Harrisburg


by Associated Press


Posted on March 12, 2012 at 3:11 PM

Updated Monday, Mar 12 at 5:01 PM

HARRISBURG, Illinois—Harrisburg Mayor Eric Gregg says he doesn’t understand what criteria the Federal Emergency Management Agency used to deny disaster aid to southern Illinois counties ravaged by tornadoes late last month.

Gregg said his community needs the federal assistance and hopes President Barrack Obama comes to southern Illinois to see the devastation himself.

Seven Harrisburg residents died after a powerful tornado hit February 29.

Gregg said he plans to move quickly to get FEMA’s decision appealed. He said that’s only fair to the families hurt by the storm.

“Even if people had good insurance, they’re out thousands of dollars to repair to repair their homes and we want to bring this community back,” said Gregg.

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn said he agreed with Gregg that the decision should be overturned.

“I spoke with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and informed her that we intend to appeal FEMA’s denial of our request for much-needed individual assistance for the people of Southern Illinois. I urged Secretary Napolitano to reconsider FEMA’s decision,” Quinn said.

Quinn said he’s met with residents in Harrisburg and Ridgway and saw firsthand the devastation it caused.

“We are hopeful our joint efforts will help FEMA understand that a full recovery from this disaster cannot happen without their support,” he said.