Story by 89 WLS Web Writer Kim Rasmussen
Governor Pat Quinn declared 38 counties state disaster areas Friday. This comes after Quinn toured flood damaged areas on Thursday.
Flash flooding and rapidly rising bodies of water have forced evacuations, damaged or destroyed homes and businesses, caused power outages and closed numerous roads.
"Illinois has seen an incredible level of devastation and reports indicate that conditions will get worse in the coming days,” Quinn said. “We want to ensure that every county gets the assistance they need and this declaration will give every affected community access to available resources. As we wait for the floods to pass, all Illinois residents should continue to take precautions, and stay off the roads if possible."
Counties included in the governor's declaration include: Adams, Brown, Bureau, Calhoun, Carroll, Cass, Champaign, Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Fulton, Greene, Grundy, Hancock, Henderson, Henry, Jersey, Jo Daviess, Kane, Kendall, Lake, LaSalle, Marshall, Mason, McHenry, Mercer, Morgan, Peoria, Pike, Putnam, Rock Island, Schuyler, Scott, Tazewell, Whiteside, Will, Winnebago and Woodford.
The disaster declaration makes a wide variety of state resources available to affected communites to respond and recover from flooding. The state has personnel and assets to help local officials in disaster recovery to speed debris removal and provide assistance with security and other public safety issues.
The state is also working on securing federal relief.
The State Incident Response Center (SIRC) in Springfield was activated Thursday morning and will remain operational as long as necessary.
For flood safety information and real-time updates, please visit Ready.Illinois.gov. For traffic updates please visit GettingAroundIllinois.com/gai.htm.
The state’s response to the floods includes:
· Illinois Department of Transportation is ensuring public safety through road closures, message boards and other road-closure assistance to affected communities.
· Illinois National Guard is coordinating with IEMA in the event troops are needed to assist flooded communities.
· Illinois Department of Central Management Services is monitoring conditions at state facilities to ensure state agencies can continue to provide critical services to the public and is prepared to procure flood-fighting supplies if needed.
· Illinois Department of Corrections had 30 inmates at the Pittsfield Work Camp in Pike County assist with filling sandbags for local public safety officials.
· Illinois Department of Public Health is providing local public health departments, hospitals and medical offices in the affected areas with information on tetanus shots.
· Illinois State Police is assisting motorists stranded by floodwaters and working with local public safety officials on road closures.
· Illinois Emergency Management Agency is coordinating the state’s response and has deployed staff throughout the affected areas to assist local officials.
· Illinois Department of Natural Resources dispatched conservation officers to Sycamore to assist with evacuation of residents in a flooded mobile home park.
· Office of the State Fire Marshal is coordinating with fire departments throughout the state to assess any flood-related issues they’re experiencing.
· American Red Cross has opened shelters in Roanoke, Oglesby and Lisle and is continuing to assess the need for shelters and other assistance.
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