News Local/State

Six More Counties, Including Douglas, Given Disaster Declaration


Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn is adding another six counties to the state's disaster declaration after strong weekend storms blew across the region.

The move was announced early Tuesday and brings the total number of counties given the designation to 13.

The newest counties being added are Douglas, Jasper, Pope, Wabash, Wayne and Will.

The governor declared Champaign, Grundy, LaSalle, Massac, Tazewell, Washington and Woodford counties as state disaster areas on Monday.

Quinn's tour of the region Monday included a visit to the Champaign County community Gifford, where residents sustained only minor injuries. 

"We want people to rebuild and to come together, and Gifford is a strong town," he said.  "And it has strong community feeling, and we want the town to come back stronger than ever."

Carl Baker with the American Red Cross said the agency is trying to address some very specific needs in Gifford.

"We have been on the ground doing mobile feeding, fixed feeding, and also had a shelter open," he said. "So, that's what we're doing here.  We've also done some client needs to see what they needed, and also some mental health counseling."

Sunday's storms spawned tornadoes that pummeled the state, killing at least six people and destroying hundreds of homes and businesses. At least two of the tornadoes had a preliminary designation as EF-4s, the second-strongest rating.
The disaster designation is aimed at making it easier for state resources to help hard-hit communities.