ALTON, Ill. (AP) – Illinois communities affected by historic flooding more than two months ago are still waiting to hear whether they will receive assistance from the federal government.
Thousands of Missouri residents who were affected by the flooding of the Mississippi River and many of its tributaries gained access to federal aid after President Barack Obama declared in January that 33 of the state’s counties were major disaster areas. But Illinois didn’t get the same declaration because it didn’t meet the federal threshold for damage amounts.
Nineteen counties along the Mississippi River calculated $15 million in damages, but the federal threshold was $18.1 million, The (Alton) Telegraph reported.
Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has urged Obama to grant the disaster status to the counties. It could be weeks before the state hears back from the federal government.
In the flood’s wake, counties evaluated damage and submitted findings to the Illinois Emergency Management Agency. An agency taskforce and the Federal Emergency Management Agency visited damaged areas and assessed findings by counties.
The state submitted its request to FEMA a little over a week ago.
“We tried to present a really thorough case to show that while we didn’t meet the (federal) threshold, there are counties that have a really severe impact,” said Patti Thompson, spokeswoman for the Illinois Emergency Management Agency. “There are several counties that surpass their threshold, and some that are just astronomical.”
There a few possible results of the state’s request, including aid being approved for only some of the counties. Thompson said some counties also saw flooding in the summer.
Alton is among municipalities with damaged streets and not enough money to fix them. Mayor Brant Walker said the cost of manpower, overtime, fuel and sandbagging adds up.
“We’re still suffering from some pretty significant aftermath,” Walker said.
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