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September 24, 2008

Governor Blagojevich asks President Bush for federal disaster declaration for seven counties hit by recent flooding
Federal disaster declaration would help people, businesses recover from flood

SPRINGFIELD – Seeking to help residents in seven Illinois counties recover from recent severe flooding, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today asked President Bush to declare Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, LaSalle and Will counties major disaster areas.  If approved, a federal disaster declaration would enable people and businesses affected by the floods to apply for grants and loans to help with flood losses.
“Thousands of people in these seven counties have suffered flood damage to their homes, appliances, furniture and other possessions,” said Governor Blagojevich.  “They certainly need the types of assistance that are only available through a federal disaster declaration, and today I’m urging the President and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to quickly approve my request for federal assistance.” 
In a letter to the President, Governor Blagojevich noted that the recent flood disaster is the sixth in the state of Illinois during the past 13 months, including flooding in August 2007 that impacted many of the same areas affected by flooding last week.
The Governor’s request was based on assessments of damage to homes and businesses currently being conducted by the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).  The state requested FEMA and SBA assistance with damage assessments after gathering initial damage information from local emergency managers in the affected areas.  The damage assessments began on Sept. 19 and are continuing. 
To date, the damage assessments have identified 10 homes that were destroyed and 522 other homes that received major damage.  More than 2,000 homes received lesser damage.  In addition, nearly 200 businesses in the affected counties were also impacted by floodwaters.
“While our damage assessments are not yet complete, it’s already quite obvious that this flooding had a significant impact on thousands of people,” said IEMA Director Andrew Velasquez III.  “The documentation submitted today with the Governor’s request illustrates the urgent need for federal assistance to these areas, and we hope the federal government will act quickly.”
If granted, the federal disaster declaration would make assistance available, including:
  • Assistance for individuals and households, which can include cash grants to help with temporary housing, home repairs and replacement, medical, dental, funeral and other disaster-related expenses.
  • Low-interest loans to residents and businesses through the U.S. Small Business Administration.
  • Hazard mitigation assistance, which could help fund projects to prevent similar flooding and storm damage in the future.
Last week, Governor Blagojevich declared these seven counties state disaster areas due to flooding.  On Tuesday, the Governor added Bureau, Kendall and Woodford to the state disaster declaration.


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