FEMA Denies Disaster Aid To Illinois, Missouri Counties

News
This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

(KTVI-FOX2now.com)- FEMA has denied federal disaster aid to southern Illinois and Missouri.

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn requested federal help for five Illinois counties; but the feds turned down that request.  Saying the damage was not beyond the capabilities of state and local governments to handle.

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon made the request for Adair, Barry, Barton, Bollinger, Cape Girardeau, Cedar, Dallas, Daviess, Laclede, Linn, Madison, Phelps, Polk, Pulaski, Scott, Stoddard, Stone and Taney. These counties were impacted by the severe weather on Feb. 28-29.

Gov. Nixon gave the following statement:

“A major disaster declaration would have made additional assistance available to Missourians as they recover and move forward from this round of severe weather. I went to southern Missouri and saw the serious property damage to homes and businesses, and the places where Missourians lost their lives. While this decision is disappointing, we’ll continue at the state level to provide the critical resources, assets and personnel that are necessary to help these affected communities recover and rebuild.”

Seven people died in the EF4 tornado in Harrisburg, Illinois on February 29th. Three deaths were reported in Missouri.

Illinois Senator Dick Durbin is very upset over the decision and plans to appeal the decision.

The decision left locals in Harrisburg, IL stunned.

“I have seen all of it and it is really in bad shape, and we need help,” storm victim Sandra Clayton said.  And she’s one of the lucky ones.  She had insurance and is going to have her home rebuilt.

The same cannot be said for her friend Agnes Hopkins.  Hopkins home suffered significant damage from the February 29th twister.  If FEMA offered help, uninsured storm victims like Hopkins would have a chance of rebuilding.  Without it, she says she’s out of luck.

“Right now I’m just getting ready to sell my property and have the house condemned and have it torn down,” she said.  “That’s all I can do.”

The city’s mayor, Eric Gregg, says there are plenty of stories like that Hopkins’.   He says he has plenty of questions for federal officials who made the decision.

“I think we definitely are owed those answers,” he said.  “I think we need to find out how this decision was arrived upon, who made this decision, and why.  I’ve got a lot of people I’m gonna have to go out and answer to.”

About three-hundred homes were damaged or destroyed in Harrisburg.  Seven people were killed by the storm.  Gregg says FEMA’s assertion that state and local officials can work together with volunteers to get the work done is simply false.

“As mayor of this community it’s my mission and my goal to take care of our citizens, to try and make them whole again.  And given this today, the answer we have right now, we’re not gonna be able to make some of our people whole.”

Officials hope the White House will intervene, but Monday there were no signs of help coming from Washington.

Asked about the situation, White House spokesman Jay Carney said, “FEMA has a lot of regional offices, a lot of presence on the ground in these affected states and the evaluation process continues and our efforts at the federal level to assist those states that have been affected by these storms will continue.”

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn joined a chorus of politicians from the state saying they will put heat on FEMA to change their decision.

“I met with local officials, spent time with residents and saw firsthand the devastation and damage caused by the tornado in Southern Illinois,” Quinn said. “FEMA underestimated the impact this deadly tornado had on small towns like Harrisburg and Ridgway. We have already begun work on our appeal of this decision in order to secure federal assistance.”

Mayor Gregg also insists it’s not a done deal.

“No is not always no. We’re gonna find a way to keep pushing and hopefully get this decision reversed,” he said.

Residents say if those FEMA officials are still in town, they’re not likely to get a warm reception.

“Well, I’d probably run ‘em off (if they came to my door),”Clayton said, “but I would tell ‘em I think it’s pretty bad when they don’t want to help people in a disaster like this.”

As for Hopkins, she finds herself faced with starting over at the age of 62, something she never anticipated.

“No. No.  I pretty well though I had my home and everything was fine, but it just didn’t turn out that way.  Just didn’t turn out that way.  All you can do is pray about it.  It’s all you’ve got left.”

IL. Gov. Pat Quinn’s Response: IL Gov. Appeal of FEMA Denial Statement

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

About FOX 2 News

FOX 2 and KPLR 11 in St. Louis cover the news in Missouri and Illinois. There are over 68 hours of live news and local programming on-air each week. Our website and live video streams operate 24/7. Download our apps for alerts and follow us on social media for updates in your feed.

President Harry Truman said: “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” That spirit is alive and well at Fox 2. Our teamwork is on display each and every day.

Our news slogan is: “Coverage You Can Count On.” We quite frankly are too busy to worry about who gets the credit. Our main concern is serving the viewer.

We go where the stories take us. Whether it be Washington, D.C when a Belleville man opened fire during a congressional baseball game practice or to Puerto Rico where local Ameren crews restored power after more than 5 months in the dark.

Coverage You Can Count On means “Waking up your Day” with our top-rated morning show. From 4:00 am-10:00 am we are leading the way with breaking news. But our early morning crew also knows how to have some fun! Our strong commitment to the communities we serve is highlighted with our Friday neighborhood shows.

Our investigative unit consists of three reporters. Elliott Davis focuses on government waste, Chris Hayes is our investigative reporter, and Mike Colombo is our consumer reporter. They work in unison with the news department by sharing resources and ideas.

We continue to cover breaking news aggressively and relied on our seasoned journalists to make a difference with the stories we covered. The shooting of Arnold Police Officer Ryan O’Connor is just one example of that. Jasmine Huda was the only reporter who had exclusive access to the O’Connor family during his amazing rehabilitation in Colorado.

Last, but certainly not least, FOX 2 and KPLR 11 are committed to covering local politics. We host debates among candidates and have the most extensive presidential election coverage. Our commitment to politics isn’t just during an election year. We produce two political shows that air every weekend.

Popular

Latest News

More News