Congressman: FEMA ‘Got Everything Wrong’ In Denying Tornado Aid

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBS) — A downstate congressman says the federal government “got everything wrong” by denying benefits to tornado-ravaged Harrisburg and surrounding areas.

The state quickly applied to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for help after an EF-4 tornado tore through Southern Illinois on Feb. 29, killing seven. Help was denied, which baffled U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson (R-Urbana).

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Alex Degman reports

“They acted with incomplete facts,” he says. “To take the position that there is disqualification based on the factors they set forth, and based on the actuality of the incident, this flies in the face of reality.”

FEMA denied assistance as it felt a state declaration, coupled with charitable donations and private insurance, would suffice. Gov. Pat Quinn was also furious at the decision, and gave notice earlier this week that he would appeal.

“After personally surveying the damage and talking to many residents who lost their homes, I firmly believe federal assistance is crucial to help them begin the recovery process,” Quinn said Sunday in a statement last weekend.

Quinn had sought a federal major disaster declaration for the state from the federal government, and assistance for downstate Gallatin, Randolph, Saline, Union and Williamson counties.

Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) and other lawmakers met with FEMA administrator Craig Fugate in Washington Wednesday to challenge the decision.

FEMA has agreed to accept a revised damage estimate, which the state has three weeks to compile.

  • Army Vet,VN

    Blame obama.

    • Army Vet,VN

      He was more concerned about the hot the trot law student that the victims of the tornado.

  • Sickened

    “Help was denied, which baffled U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson (R-Urbana).”
    Wake up man!!! It’s a republican area and Dems control FEMA. They want to send a message. You don’t vote Democratic, you don’t get fed aid. Nothing baffling here.

  • Sickened

    Remember who’s in charge, Obama. He’s from Chicago. His buddy is Rahm Emanual. How does the Chicago machine run? If you take a Republican ballot, they may not pick up your garbage. The police, fire dept or paramedics may not get there in time. You will probably loose your city job. In this case no FEMA aid.

    • Slats Royko

      Please don’t ever heap the men and woman of any Police Department into the pool of playing dirty politics. When it comes to putting our all on the line, we will do it every day without hesitation and for people we don’t even know. Especially here in Chicago, the Officer’s in the Blue and White, those without “CLOUT,” we don’t play that game. The “Connected CLOUT BABYS may, but we, the “REAL POLICE” don’t!!!

  • john

    I am so happy that Obama fixed FEMA.

  • Malcom

    if it was a majority black area would funds be deniied? I think not.

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