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July 16, 2008

Governor Blagojevich, four Midwestern governors ask President Bush to further increase federal reimbursement to flood-impacted communities
Seven more counties approved for federal assistance to local governments for flood-related expenses

SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today joined the governors of Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, and Wisconsin in asking President Bush to provide additional federal assistance to communities devastated by catastrophic flooding in June.  In a letter signed by all five governors, the states asked the federal government to reimburse state and local governments for 100 percent of expenses for flood-related emergency protective measures, and 90 percent of other response and recovery costs.
Meanwhile, seven additional Illinois counties were approved today to receive federal assistance to help local governments recoup many of their flood response and recovery costs.
“I’m very pleased that my request to help seven more counties with their staggering expenses from the recent flooding was approved today,” said Governor Blagojevich.  “However, as we’ve been working with flood-impacted communities during the past several weeks, it has become evident that even more federal assistance is desperately needed to help these areas recover from the catastrophic flood and storm damage.”
Counties approved for federal assistance to local governments today include Lake, Madison, Mercer, Monroe, Randolph, Rock Island and St. Clair.  Earlier this month, 15 other counties were approved for such assistance, including Adams, Calhoun, Clark, Coles, Crawford, Cumberland, Douglas, Edgar, Hancock, Henderson, Jasper, Jersey, Lawrence, Pike, and Winnebago.
On June 30, President Bush approved a request from Governor Blagojevich and the governors of Indiana, Iowa and Wisconsin to increase to 90 percent the federal government’s share of federal disaster assistance for emergency protective actions taken during the recent flood fight.  Under that approval, other eligible flood-related expenses, such as debris cleanup and repair to damaged public property, would be reimbursed at the standard 75 percent federal share, with the remaining 25 percent in costs covered by state and local entities.
The Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) began conducting applicant briefings for local government officials in the approved counties, last week.  During these briefings, officials learn how to apply for reimbursement of their eligible expenses for such things as emergency protective measures, debris removal and the repair, restoration or replacement of public facilities or infrastructure that were damaged during the storms or flooding.
IEMA Director Andrew Velasquez III said his agency is already working with FEMA officials to schedule applicant briefings in the counties announced, today.  “This is really great news for these seven counties, because it will help them recoup many of their flood-related expenses,” he said.
Damage assessments conducted in the southeastern, northern and western parts of Illinois found more than 1,800 homes affected by flooding, including at least 225 that had been destroyed and nearly 400 that suffered major damage.  Nearly 230 other homes were inaccessible, due to high floodwaters in the area.


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