SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced that teams from the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) will be in southern Illinois beginning Wednesday to view flood-damaged homes and businesses in several counties hit by severe flooding last month. The state requested FEMA and SBA assistance with damage assessments after gathering initial damage information last week from local emergency managers in the affected areas.
“While the floodwaters are mostly gone, the disaster continues for many people whose homes and businesses were heavily damaged or destroyed,” said Gov. Blagojevich. “These damage assessments will help us determine whether or not we might qualify for federal disaster assistance to help people fix their homes and start getting their lives back to normal.”
The assessment teams will be looking at flood-damaged homes and businesses and assessing the severity of the damage. If the damage is so extensive that the ability to recover from the disaster is beyond the capability of local and state governments, documentation from the assessments could be used to support a state request for federal assistance.
On March 20, following heavy rains that dumped up to 12 inches of rain in some parts of southern Illinois, Gov. Blagojevich declared 19 southern Illinois counties state disaster areas, including Alexander, Fayette, Franklin, Gallatin, Hamilton, Hardin, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Marion, Massac, Perry, Pope, Pulaski, Randolph, Saline, Union, White and Williamson counties.
IEMA Director Andrew Velasquez III said the damage assessment teams should be in southern Illinois for several days. “We’re meeting with FEMA and SBA personnel today in Springfield to develop the plan of action for viewing the damage, and the teams should hit the ground in southern Illinois on Wednesday morning,” he said.