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Sen. Durbin Discusses Disaster Assistance with FEMA


Illinois U.S. Senator Dick Durbin met Wednesday with the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency to talk about assisting the southern part of the state damaged by deadly storms.

A tornado tore through the Harrisburg area last month, killing seven people.

Assistance from FEMA would help with repairs and rebuilding, but the agency denied the state's request for federal help. FEMA had ruled that insurance, charities and state money could cover costs linked to the storm that tore through five southern Illinois counties.

Speaking after the meeting with FEMA, Durbin said Illinois is getting another chance.

"I still feel confident, having seen this damage and compared it to a lot of other disasters, that we have a good fighting chance for this federal declaration," Durbin said. "I want it to happen, the people down there have suffered enough. Seven people lost their lives, a lot of folks are out of their homes, the community has just pitched in in every way possible to help out. This federal declaration will help a lot of people get back on their feet."

Speculating about why Illinois didn't receive assistance from FEMA the first time, Durbin said application materials gathered were lacking information. He said he expects FEMA to get a revised application in less than a week, and then make a decision within a few days.