On February 29, a tornado ravaged the town of Harrisburg, IL, killing seven people. Mayor Eric Gregg is flummoxed by this decision and is going to appeal.
The Mayor of Harrisburg, IL, Eric Gregg, has seen the counties under his charge endure many disasters over the last couple of years. Last year it was hit by massive floods, causing the region to be declared a major disaster area. On February 29th, yet another disaster hit the area.
A tornado ripped through the area with wind speeds of 170 mph, destroying homes and killing seven residents, according to the Chicago Tribune.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has denied Federal aid to the five counties hit worst by the tornado. Gregg is saddened and confused, saying,
"I want to know how this decision was reached and why, because frankly, I don't understand it."
FEMA claims that their decision is based on their assessment that volunteers, insurance, and local agencies can handle it for themselves. They released a statement (PDF) to Eyewitness News.
Gregg and Governor Pat Quinn plan to appeal the decision. Gregg is hoping President Barack Obama will come to see the damage in person.
I am extremely disappointed that FEMA denied our request for federal assistance that is needed to help people in Harrisburg, Ridgway and the other communities, Quinn has said. After personally surveying the damage and talking to many residents who lost their homes, I firmly believe federal assistance is crucial to help them begin the recovery process.
Gregg believes that the damage cost is in the "tens of millions". CNN has released a video on YouTube showing the devastation.