- Associated Press - Thursday, November 13, 2014

WASHINGTON, Ill. (AP) - Nearly a year after deadly tornadoes swept through central Illinois, the committee in charge of recovery in Washington, East Peoria and Pekin has shifted priorities.

Jim Fassino, chairman of the Tri-County Long Term Recovery Committee, said the goal right after the November 2013 storms was to help families meet basic needs. Now, he said, the committee is dealing with insurance issues to ensure residents are able to rebuild or move into new homes.

The committee formed in April 2013 through local flood relief efforts. Members stepped up to help tornado victims six months later. Although the current form of the committee has an expiration date, Fassino said there’s probably another year’s worth of work to do.

He said the committee will know it has served its purpose when the last displaced person moves into a permanent residence.

“That’s when you really know how you ended up,” he said.



The committee has closed about 66 percent of the 1,010 cases it has received since the tornado on Nov. 17, 2013, the Pekin Daily Times (https://bit.ly/1xw2ZAc) reported. New cases are still popping up, according to Alyssa Pollock, chairwoman of the LTR disaster case management committee. She thinks this is due to expiring insurance payments for temporary housing as the first anniversary approaches.

“We’re starting to see clients with longer-term needs at this point,” said Pollock, the regional emergency services director for the American Red Cross of Central Illinois.

Despite the fact that there’s much more work to be done, Fassino said he’s pleased with the “remarkable” efforts that have been made in terms of recovery.

“I didn’t think it would be this far,” he said. “It’s an absolute delight to see what a bunch of people working together can accomplish.”

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Information from: Pekin Daily Times, https://www.pekintimes.com

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