Tornado Relief
4:50 pm
Mon November 18, 2013

Want FEMA Aid? Even If "Home Is Totally Destroyed" Governor Tells Victims To Document

An estimated 200 homes were destroyed in the village of Gifford, in Champaign County.
Credit Sean Powers/WILL

  State officials say victims of yesterday's (Nov. 17) storms should take extra care in documenting their material losses. Illinois learned the hard way why that can be important.

Amanda Vinicky looks back on FEMA's denial of the state's request for assistance after a tornado hit Harrisburg

About two years ago, seven people died in the tornadoes that rocked Harrisburg, in deep southern Illinois. And yet the state was denied a request for federal assistance. That meant home and business owners could not get federal loans, grants and other aide.

Saying "we've gone through this before," Gov. Pat Quinn gave this advice to Sunday's storm victims: "It is important that our families and our businesses, as best they can, given this difficult circumstances, a full record of what has been lost," he said. "Our hope to get a federal disaster declaration really rides on our ability to get all information regarding damage and destruction that occurred."

The governor spoke before setting off on a tour of five communities hit by the severe storms and tornadoes.

Quinn's already declared seven Illinois counties state disaster areas, which lets local governments make use of state resources. Counties included in the Governor's declaration are Champaign, Grundy, LaSalle, Massac, Tazewell, Washington and Woodford counties.