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Governor Quinn adds six counties to state disaster declaration totaling thirteen

Governor Pat Quinn yesterday toured and personally inspected the damage in some of Illinois' hardest hit communities: Washington, Diamond, Gifford, Brookport and New Minden. On Monday, Governor Quinn declared Champaign, Grundy, LaSalle, Massac, Tazewell, Washington and Woodford counties state disaster areas after a severe storm system ripped across Illinois, spawning at least two EF4 tornadoes.

Governor Pat Quinn last April surveying the state's flood damage. Yesterday, Quinn took a similar tour of the areas of Illinois hardest hit by Sunday's storm.
Governor Pat Quinn last April surveying the state's flood damage. Yesterday, Quinn took a similar tour of the areas of Illinois hardest hit by Sunday's storm.(Governor Quinn facebook fan page)

Today Quinn declared Douglas, Jasper, Pope, Wabash, Wayne and Will counties state disaster areas following violent storms and tornadoes on Sunday that affected several regions of the state. The declaration increases the number of declared counties to 13.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said that "Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone affected by yesterday’s storms, including those who lost a loved one. The President continues to be briefed by Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Lisa Monaco. The White House will continue to stay in touch with our federal partners, including FEMA, as well as the state and local partners who are leading the response in the affected states."

Carney added that "FEMA has an Incident Management Assistance Team, IMAT, deployed to Illinois to coordinate with state and local officials to identify needs related to disaster response and recovery. FEMA also has liaison officers positioned at emergency operation centers in Illinois, Ohio and Indiana, and additional liaison officers on standby and ready to deploy if requested."

The Associated Press reported that Quinn received a call from President Obama and promised Quinn "whatever you need." The call came while Quinn and his team was touring the areas damaged in the central Illinois community of Washington, said a spokeswoman for the governor.

Governor Quinn discussed his tour of the state. "Yesterday I saw firsthand the devastation caused by these deadly storms. While the recovery will be long and hard, we will work in the coming days, weeks and months to assist these communities and help the people who live there rebuild their lives."

The state disaster declaration makes available a wide variety of state resources that can help affected communities respond and recover from the storms. The state of Illinois has personnel and assets that can be mobilized to help local government officials with disaster recovery, including such things as trucks, heavy equipment to remove debris, communications equipment and provide assistance with security and other public safety issues.

Governor Quinn also announced that volunteer efforts are well underway to assist the victims of the November 17 tornadoes that devastated several communities in Illinois. Financial donations to volunteer disaster response agencies are the best way to help. Cash donations allow these agencies to purchase exactly what is needed, when it is needed. If materials are donated, they should only be those items specifically requested by officials, and these should be brought to officially designated collection centers.

Volunteer information for specific areas is listed below. For more information visit Ready.illinois.gov for information on specific sites that can utilize volunteers.

  • Gifford (Champaign County). American Red Cross-Central Illinois chapter, (217) 351-5861.
  • Coal City (Grundy County). Coal City High School, Mr. Rich Kapinus, (815) 207-0926.
  • Washington County. No need for volunteers or donations at this time.

In addition, the Illinois Department of Insurance (DOI) will offer free one-on-one insurance counseling services to assist Washington residents recovering from the November 17 tornado. DOI staff will help individuals with the insurance claims process by providing information on how to properly document storm damage, whether to make temporary repairs, what a consumer’s homeowner policy covers and what to expect during the claims process.

The first day of counseling will take place on Tuesday, November 19 in the Wal-Mart Supercenter parking lot at 1980 Freedom Parkway in Washington. Those seeking assistance should arrive by 10 a.m. DOI staff will offer free counseling daily thereafter from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. If available, consumers should bring an inventory of contents, policy information and all documentation they have received from company adjusters or public adjusters.

Send John Presta an email and your story ideas or suggestions, johnpresta@att.net.

John is the author of an award-winning book, the 2010 Winner of the USA National Best Book award for African American studies, published by The Elevator Group, Mr. and Mrs. Grassroots. Also available an eBook on Amazon. John is also a member of the Society of Midland Authors and is a book reviewer of political books for the New York Journal of Books. John has volunteered for many political campaigns.