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Assistance still needed for tornado victims

PRINCETON — Disaster assistance continues to be collected locally for the victims of the Nov. 17 tornadoes in the Washington, Ill., area.

On Monday, Bureau County Red Cross director Lori Compton said the need in Washington is on-going. The American Red Cross remains in the Washington area and will remain there providing its varied services to the tornado victims for quite some time, she said.

Bureau County residents, and the entire Midwest, have been very generous with their donations, but the need will continue, Compton said. The monetary collections and donations made by individuals, schools, churches, businesses and other groups have been very much appreciated, she said.

Also, the Bureau County Red Cross has sent four volunteers — Mike Hellberg, Tamara Foster, Sherri Parker and Mary Joiner — to assist at the Washington site, Compton said. Hellberg helped with the assessment process. Foster worked in mass care; Parker in health service; and Joiner in a Red Cross shelter.

In other Washington, Ill., news, Gov. Pat Quinn announced last week that $1.6 million in federal aid has been approved to date to help people and households affected by the Nov. 17 tornadoes and severe storms. The federal grants will help with disaster-related expenses such as temporary home rental, home repairs and replacement of damaged personal property items, Quinn said.

“These grants are helping people put their lives back together after the deadly tornadoes,” Quinn said. “This federal aid is critical to the recovery process and I appreciate the Obama Administration’s efforts to accelerate needed relief to people affected by the tornadoes. I urge everyone who suffered damage or loss to register for federal aid today.”

Federal aid designation was granted for 15 counties just nine days after an Illinois November record of 25 tornadoes caused widespread destruction across the state. Counties receiving the federal disaster declaration are Champaign, Douglas, Fayette, Grundy, Jasper, LaSalle, Massac, Pope, Tazewell, Vermilion, Wabash, Washington, Wayne, Will and Woodford.

As far as any local emergencies requiring the services of the Red Cross, Compton said it’s been fairly quiet right now in Bureau County area, but things can change quickly. For one thing, house fires tend to occur more often in the winter months as people use their heating devices. People need to be very cautious throughout the year, but especially in the winter months, she said.

Comment on this story at www.bcrnews.com.

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