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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 10, 2001

Governor Ryan Announces Federal Disaster Assistance is Coming for Ten Counties Affected by Mississippi River Flooding

SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan today announced that President Bush approved his request to declare 10 counties as federal disaster areas because of near-record flooding along the Mississippi River. The federal declaration includes Adams, Calhoun, Carroll, Jo Daviess, Hancock, Henderson, Mercer, Pike, Rock Island and Whiteside counties.

"I thank President Bush for his quick response to the needs of Illinois residents whose homes and businesses were damaged from this flooding," Governor Ryan said. "This assistance will help them begin to put their lives back together.

"I also want to thank the President and FEMA Director Joe Allbaugh for taking into consideration the mitigation and flood-fighting efforts of Illinois, rather than looking only at damage. This declaration sends the message that an aggressive approach to mitigation and preparedness will be recognized in Washington, D.C., and, in the final tally, saves taxpayers money."

Despite the fact that the flood levels in parts of the upper Mississippi River in Illinois met or exceeded the levels of the Great Flood of 1993, preliminary damage assessments totaled $5.6 million compared to $133 million in 1993. This reduced level of damage is in part because of Governor Ryan's early State Disaster Declaration that allowed local governments to take preventive flood-fighting measures and access state resources.

"I commend IEMA and all of the state agencies that are a part of the State Emergency Operations Center for their quick and effective response which helped to reduce the damage of this flood." Governor Ryan said. "We are committed to continuing state assistance to local governments through the clean-up and recovery period."

Illinois' coordinated flood-fighting efforts included the distribution of 2.8 million sandbags and more than 44,000 man hours.

The Presidential declaration means that local units of government in all 10 counties and the State of Illinois can receive 75 percent reimbursement for eligible emergency measures taken during the flood fight, as well as for debris removal costs when the flood waters recede. It also includes Individual Assistance for residents and businesses in six of the counties, including Carroll, Hancock, Henderson, Jo Daviess, Rock Island and Whiteside. The Individual Assistance categories include low interest loans, grants and temporary housing. Additional counties may become eligible for Individual Assistance if the need is identified.

Victims of the flooding in the declared counties may apply for assistance by telephone through a national tele-registration center operated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), 1-800-462-9029 or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY for the hearing impaired), daily between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. (CDT) beginning Friday, May 11.

Callers should have their address, social security number, a list of damages and losses suffered, directions to the damaged property and an insurance policy number readily available.


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