RED BUD, IL (KFVS) - With the recent denial of FEMA federal assistance for southern Illinois communities for help with clean-up efforts from the flooding in late December and early January, state Rep. Jerry Costello II, D-Smithton, is asking federal legislators to join him in urging the federal agency to reconsider their denial.
"FEMA's current formula unfairly measures damage done in southern Illinois against higher population areas like Chicago, making it more difficult for small and rural areas to receive aid," Costello said. "I ask our federal legislators and President Obama to join me in standing up for southern Illinois communities and the relief we need."
FEMA assists in disaster recovery across the nation and is the agency responsible for evaluating disastrous events to determine where the federal government will provide aid funds. Under FEMA's current formula for federal aid, the amount of damage caused by an event is compared to the state's total population. As a result, despite the devastation of flooding in southern Illinois causing $15 million in damage, FEMA denied the request for federal aid because it fell below the minimum for such a populous state.
Because Illinois's population is imbalanced, with half of the state's population in and around Chicago, smaller southern Illinois communities must sustain significantly more damage to received help regaining losses through the federal government. Costello wrote letters to Sen. Durbin and and Sen. Kirk, Rep. Bost and Rep. Shimkus as well as President Obama, asking them to join him in urging FEMA to reconsider its decision, as well as to reform its disaster declaration process.
"December's flooding came on the heels of river flooding in June 2015, leaving local communities without the resources necessary to recover and rebuild," Costello said. "I find it unfair and appalling that our communities must endure more devastation and costly damage before we can be given assistance. I will continue working to bring attention to the needs of Southern Illinois and to support recovery efforts."
For any questions or concerns about state-related issues, please contact Costello's constituent service office located at 124 Locust St. in Red Bud, by phone at 618-282-7284 or by email at StateRepCostello@gmail.com.