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No Federal Aid for Tornado-Stricken Towns

(CN) - Gov. Pat Quinn criticized FEMA's refusal to provide federal disaster aid to Southern Illinois communities ravaged by 3 days of tornadoes, including Harrisburg, where an F-4 twister left seven people dead.

Quinn vowed to appeal the decision by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

FEMA, in its letter to Quinn on Saturday, said: "Based on our review of all the information available, it has been determined that the damage was not of such severity and magnitude as to be beyond the capabilities of the state, affected local governments and voluntary agencies," The Associated Press reported.

Quinn criticized FEMA, as did Harrisburg Mayor Eric Gregg and Sens. Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk.

"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," Quinn said in a statement.

Gregg questioned the criteria FEMA used to evaluate the damage, while Durbin and Kirk issued a statement stating that the decision was "unacceptable."

But while Durbin and Kirk said they supported Quinn's appeal, a Quinn spokeswoman told The Associated Press that no decision to appeal has been made. She said the governor's office supported Durbin's efforts to work with federal officials and that Quinn's office has 30 days to decide whether to appeal.

The storms ravaged Southern Illinois from Feb. 29 to March 2.

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