SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today called up 200 additional Illinois Army National Guard soldiers to assist with sandbagging and other flood-fighting activities along the Mississippi River. These soldiers will join nearly 200 other Illinois National Guard troops that were activated by the Governor on Friday to assist with sandbagging along the Sny Island Levee, which stretches for more than 50 miles in Adams and Pike counties. The additional soldiers will report for duty on Sunday.
“Based on revised flood projections we received earlier today, we’re expanding our flood efforts along the Mississippi River south of Quincy, and these additional troops are critical to that mission,” said Gov. Blagojevich. “I’m directing these additional National Guard troops to support our efforts to protect the integrity of the Sny River Levee, which is critical to protecting homes, farmland and major transportation routes in West Central Illinois.”
Units called up today include the 766th Engineer Battalion based in Decatur, 661st Engineer Company in Sparta, the 33rd Military Police Company in Bloomington and the 233rd Military Police Company in Springfield.
After surveying the flooded areas north of Quincy by helicopter Saturday, Maj. Gen. (IL) William Enyart said, "Guardsmen working with local volunteers, Illinois Emergency Management Agency personnel, local authorities and other state agencies are making heroic efforts to protect critical infrastructure and lives. The Illinois National Guard has the full support of the Governor, state legislators, and federal officials in coping with the largest flood since the record-breaking flood of 1993.” Enyart indicated that additional National Guard troops are available if needed.
To date, Gov. Blagojevich has declared 15 counties state disaster areas due to flooding and severe storms, including Adams, Calhoun, Hancock, Henderson, Mercer, Pike and Rock Island counties along the Mississippi River; Clark, Coles, Crawford, Cumberland, Douglas, Jasper and Lawrence counties in southeastern Illinois; and Lake County in northeastern Illinois. The state disaster declaration makes available a wide variety of state resources that can help affected communities respond and recover from flooding.