News Local/State

Senator Durbin Tours Devastated Parts Of Washington


U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) says he will do everything he can to make sure the state receives federal assistance following Sunday’s storms.

Durbin toured the devastated community of Washington Friday.

The Illinois Emergency Management Agency is wrapping up disaster assessments of areas hit by tornadoes. The agency’s goal is to submit its application for federal assistance as soon as Monday. Durbin said it is important for the state agency’s request for federal money to be as detailed as possible.

“We had a disappointment in Harrisburg," he said. "I was sure we were going to get federal assistance in Harrisburg. We didn’t, despite our best efforts. This devastation is much larger and much more likely to receive that federal designation.”

Harrisburg, in southern Illinois, suffered major damage following a 2012 tornado, destroying hundreds of homes and killing seven people. But FEMA denied the town federal assistance citing help from local and state agencies as well as volunteer groups and private insurance.

The Director of IEMA said preliminary assessments show nearly 15-hundred homes were completely destroyed or heavily damaged statewide, a number that’s likely to climb. The National Weather Service has determined 24 tornados ripped through Illinois on Sunday. 

Emergency management officials dealing with the tornado relief effort in central Illinois say donation facilities are full and can't accommodate any more items, but cleanup efforts are still accepting financial contributions.

Across the state, forecasters say at least 15 tornadoes hit Illinois, killing six people and damaging or destroying hundreds of homes.

Emergency management officials say volunteers heading to the tornado cleanup efforts should be able to provide their own food, clothing and shelter.