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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 24, 2001

Governor Adds Two Counties to Disaster Declaration

NIOTA -- Governor George H. Ryan today visited the community of Niota to witness firsthand the conditions of the Mississippi River and its effects on the community.

Since the Great Flood of 1993, flood mitigation efforts have resulted in more than 3,000 properties in Illinois being purchased to eliminate future flood losses. Once structures are purchased, these areas are restricted from any rebuilding and are turned into green areas. In Niota, approximately 50% of the homes have been purchased, which will reduce the number of structures potentially impacted by flooding.

After touring Niota, the Governor announced he was declaring Calhoun and Pike counties disaster areas, bringing the total to 10 counties that have been declared disaster areas. The addition of these two counties enables the State to provide assistance to communities on the Mississippi River with preventative flood fighting efforts.

"By adding these counties to the disaster declaration, they will be able to take the same preventative measures taken last week by counties to their north," Ryan said. "This approach is designed to assist in minimizing flood damage and to prevent any impact on public health and safety to the citizens in these communities.

"The State will pre-position resources and equipment to assist in safeguarding homes, businesses and infrastructure."

The Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) is continuing to coordinate state resources to support local governments in their flood fighting efforts. The IEMA State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) continues to be fully staffed and operational every day.

Assistance is being provided by the Illinois Department of Transportation, Illinois Department of Corrections, Department of Public Health, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Illinois Department of Central Management Services, Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, Illinois State Police, Department of Military Affairs, Office of the State Fire Marshal, Illinois Department of Agriculture, Illinois Commerce Commission, and the American Red Cross.


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