CHICAGO–After visiting an American Red Cross shelter for flood victims in Des Plaines, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today declared Cook, DuPage, DeKalb, Grundy, Kane, LaSalle and Will counties state disaster areas to help impacted communities respond to and recover from flooding caused by record-setting rainfall over the past several days. Following the announcement, the Governor conducted an aerial survey of widespread flood damage throughout the Chicago metropolitan areas.
“Heavy rains over the weekend caused flooding in several parts of northeastern Illinois. The flood waters have caused widespread damage and forced many people from their homes, and today I am declaring Cook and six other counties state disaster areas,” said Governor Blagojevich, who was in constant contact with emergency management officials over the weekend. “I want to assure these affected communities that the state has been in contact with local officials since the rains began to offer any assistance as needed and we will continue to do everything possible to help them quickly recover from this flooding.”
With the state proclamation, state assets and personnel will be provided to affected communities to help them respond and recover from the floods. In addition, the Governor said state emergency management officials will continue working with local officials to assess damage and determine eligibility for a possible federal disaster declaration.
Governor Blagojevich activated the State Emergency Operation Center in Springfield this weekend and directed the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) to monitor flooding in several parts of the state and coordinate state assistance to local communities.
“Now that the rains have stopped and the waters are beginning to recede in many areas, we will begin working with local emergency management officials to assess the impact and determine how we can help them deal with this flood disaster,” said IEMA Director Andrew Velasquez III.
State assistance provided for flood response to date includes:
· 130,000 sandbags, barricades and several water pumps delivered by Illinois Department of Transportation trucks to affected areas
· Two boats and several Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) conservation officers to assist with evacuations, rescues and security
· Flood surveillance crews from IDNR are surveying water levels in streams and rivers and assessing dams
· Two IEMA regional coordinators were deployed to the Cook County Emergency Operations Center this weekend to coordinate requests for state assistance, and additional IEMA staff is being dispatched to the area today