SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today added Monroe, Randolph and Whiteside counties to a state disaster declaration that will help those areas respond to and recover from flooding along the Mississippi River. To date, 24 Illinois counties have been declared state disaster areas in the western, southeastern and northern parts of the state due to flooding and severe storms.
“As the floodwaters move downstream, we need to make sure communities have the help they need to keep homes and critical infrastructure safe,” said Gov. Blagojevich. “I remain committed to helping flood-impacted areas along the Mississippi River and in other parts of the state with both their flood-fight and recovery once the waters recede.”
The Governor’s disaster declaration will allow the state to expedite assistance needed to help Whiteside County recover from recent flooding and Monroe and Randolph counties prepare for floodwaters expected soon. The state has personnel and assets that can be mobilized to help local government officials with disaster response and recovery, including such things as sandbags, National Guard troops and inmate crews to assist with filling sandbags, boats for evacuations and security patrols, road barricades, pumps, trucks and a variety of heavy equipment.
In addition to Monroe, Randolph and Whiteside counties, the Governor has also declared the following counties state disasters areas: Adams, Calhoun, Clark, Coles, Crawford, Cumberland, Douglas, Edgar, Hancock, Henderson, Knox, Jasper, Jersey, Lake, Lawrence, Madison, Mercer, Pike, Rock Island, St. Clair and Winnebago.
The state’s support for the flood fight along the Mississippi River is continuing throughout the weekend, with nearly 470 Illinois Army and Air National Guard troops assisting with sandbagging, levee patrols and other activities on Sunday. In addition, nearly 50 inmates from the Illinois Department of Corrections are also assisting today with sandbagging efforts in western Illinois. The State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) in Springfield continues to be manned around the clock to ensure state assistance can be quickly deployed in response to requests from local officials, and two state Unified Area Commands are operating in Quincy and Alton to coordinate field operations.
To date, the state has deployed more than 5.5 million sandbags to help bolster levees and protect critical infrastructure along the Mississippi River.