Obama declares Cook County a federal disaster area

Amanda Gilbert, Reporter

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President Barack Obama on Friday declared Cook County and 10 other Illinois counties as federal disaster areas due to last month’s flooding.

Obama announced all of Cook County, including Evanston, will have access to federal aid for recovery from the mid-April storm, which dumped more than 4 inches of rain on Evanston and flooded dozens of Northwestern and city buildings.

Residents and business owners in Evanston can apply for grants to pay for temporary housing, home repairs or low-interest loans for uninsured property losses.

“Evanston did not have a lot of damage to report,” said Evanston Police Cmdr. Jay Parrott, adding that about 10 houses in the city were affected.

The city had asked residents and businesses to submit any flood damage information by April 26. The Cook County Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management used the information collected to show the county meets the requirements for federal assistance.

The Illinois Emergency Management Agency has already identified about 3,700 damaged houses spanning 14 counties since April 29. Other counties receiving federal aid include DeKalb, DuPage, Fulton, Grundy, Kane, Kendall, Lake, LaSalle, McHenry and Will counties.

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has declared 49 counties as state disaster areas.

— Amanda Gilbert