SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today directed the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) to continue efforts to assist emergency management officials in Mercer and Henderson counties after levees at Keithsburg and Carman broke this morning.
“My heart goes out to everyone in this area who was forced from their homes by these levee breaks,” said Gov. Blagojevich. “I’ve directed the Illinois Emergency Management Agency to work closely with local officials to ensure they get any assistance they need to help these people through this most difficult time.”
Staff from IEMA’s regional office is on site in Keithsburg to coordinate requests for state assistance. Earlier this week, the state sent resources to the area, including:
· Pumps and hoses, Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) dump trucks, plastic, shovels, 24 inmates from the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC), Illinois Terrorism Task Force (ITTF) mobile command vehicle, Illinois Transportable Emergency Communications System (ITECS), and an Incident Management Teams.
· Several IDOT trucks, one end loader, plastic, shovels, 16 IDOC inmates, 40 Illinois National Guard troops, several Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) boats, ITTF mobile command vehicle, and Incident Management Team and one tanker of fuel to Henderson County.
The American Red Cross has established shelters for flood victims at the Keithsburg Christian Church, 2002 Main Street in Keithsburg, Eliza Community Center in Eliza, and the Mediapolis Elementary School, 725 Northfield, Mediapolis, Iowa.
On Friday, the Governor declared seven counties along the Mississippi River as state disaster areas, including Adams, Calhoun, Hancock, Henderson, Mercer, Pike and Rock Island counties allowing the state to expedite assistance to help with the flood fight in those areas along the Mississippi River. The state disaster declaration makes available a wide variety of state resources that can help affected communities respond and recover from flooding. Gov. Blagojevich also activated 200 troops from the Illinois National Guard to help communities that are threatened by rising floodwaters.
The Governor also sent a letter Friday to President Bush requesting an expedited federal major disaster declaration. If granted, the declaration will make available potable water, generators, technical assistance for debris removal and other resources that may be determined necessary as flooding progresses.
The State of Illinois has personnel and assets that can be mobilized to help local government officials with disaster recovery, including such things as sandbags, inmate crews to assist with filling sandbags, boats for evacuations and security patrols, road barricades, pumps, trucks and a variety of heavy equipment.