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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 20, 2001

Governor Declares Eight Counties Disaster Areas

SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan today declared Adams, Carroll, Jo Daviess, Hancock, Henderson, Mercer, Rock Island and Whiteside counties disaster areas. This disaster declaration is a result of heavy rains and snow melt in the upper Midwest with the potential to cause record and near-record flooding on the Mississippi River, and is a measure to assist communities with the on-going flood fighting efforts.

"This declaration is necessary to provide local governments and the residents of these counties with the support they need for pre-disaster efforts and potential response and recovery assistance," Ryan said. "This measured approach will assist the citizens of these counties in minimizing flood damage to homes, businesses and infrastructure."

The Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) is coordinating State resources to support local governments in disaster response operations. Requests for assets are being coordinated through the IEMA State Forward Command Post (SFCP) in the field and the IEMA Emergency Operations Center in Springfield. Assistance is being provided by the Illinois Department of Transportation, Illinois Department of Corrections, Illinois Department of Public Health and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Office of Water Resources (OWR). IEMA and OWR have been monitoring the Mississippi River around-the-clock to stay ahead of any flooding that could occur. The Illinois Department of Corrections has assisted with 114 inmates and 13 staff. Inmates at the East Moline Correctional facility have been filling sandbags. Inmates from the Clayton Work Camp will be filling and placing sandbags in the communities of Niota, Pontoosuc, and Keithsburg. The Illinois Department of Transportation has distributed and pre-positioned a total of 692,000 sandbags in the affected area. IEMA Regional Coordinators continue to meet with local mayors, village presidents and emergency management coordinators to assess any unmet needs. The State Emergency Operations Center was activated on Tuesday to assist local governments with flood fighting efforts.

Governor Ryan is activating the Illinois National Guard to support communities along the Mississippi River. 250 Guardsmen are being deployed to support flood fighting efforts in the affected area.

This declaration also will make possible the request for federal assistance to supplement the state's efforts if it is deemed necessary to protect public health and safety and to assist in recovery.

Saturday morning Governor Ryan will visit the communities of East Dubuque, Savanna and the Quad Cities to personally survey the flooding.


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