SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today declared 18 counties state disaster areas following another round of storms that moved quickly through the state Sunday evening, severely battering homes and businesses. Communities in those counties will be eligible to receive partial compensation for extraordinary expenses they incurred for response and recovery from the storms.
“For the second time in less than a month Illinois has been barraged by a series of storms that devastated homes and businesses,” said Gov. Blagojevich. “As communities across the state struggle to clean up and get back to normal – some for the second time in recent weeks – the state is prepared to do its part to help.”
More than 560 homes and at least 90 businesses were damaged in the 18 counties included in the state disaster declaration. Those counties include Christian, Champaign, Clay, Cumberland, Effingham, Fayette, Iroquois, Jasper, Jefferson, Lawrence, Macon, McLean, Moultrie, Richland, St. Clair, Sangamon, Shelby and Wayne. The declaration comes after an inspection of damage by state officials, who continue to assess the full extent of the damage in the region and throughout the state.
The gubernatorial proclamation of disaster will enable the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) to provide financial assistance from the state’s disaster relief fund for extraordinary costs incurred by these counties in responding to and recovery from the damage caused by the storms. It also enables the state to provide assets, such as heavy equipment and inmates, to help hard-hit communities with such tasks as debris removal.
Governor Blagojevich activated the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) in Springfield Sunday evening to assess damage caused by the long line of severe storms and tornadoes that began moving through the state early that evening. The SEOC received initial reports of storm damage that night from several parts of the state and has been working closely with local emergency management officials since then to determine the extent of the damage and what state assistance is needed.
In addition to operating the SEOC and directing resources to communities requesting assistance, IEMA also sent liaisons to local Emergency Operations Centers to coordinate assistance requests. State assistance to date includes Illinois Department of Transportation trucks used to clear debris on state routes and Illinois Department of Corrections inmates assisting with debris removal in Taylorville.