Governor Pat Quinn today issued a disaster proclamation to ensure state resources are readily available to support local governments affected by a series of severe storms that have affected southern Illinois during the past two weeks. Forecasts for additional heavy rains this week could send swollen waterways even higher and cause widespread flooding throughout the region.
"I have directed the Illinois Emergency Management Agency to coordinate state personnel and assets needed to help affected communities protect their residents and critical infrastructure from the rising floodwaters," said Governor Quinn. "We are committed to helping these areas deal with a very difficult and potentially dangerous situation."
The State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) will be activated at 8 a.m. Tuesday and will remain operational until the flood threat subsides. Liaisons from several state agencies will work with the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) to coordinate the deployment of state personnel and assets to assist local governments in the affected areas.
Agencies and organizations that will be represented in the SEOC include the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC), the Illinois State Police, the Illinois National Guard, the Illinois Department of Public Health, the Department of Central Management Services, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, the Office of the State Fire Marshal, the Illinois Commerce Commission, the American Red Cross and the Illinois Emergency Services Management Association.
IEMA already has been working with IDOC on a sandbag-filling mission by inmates at the Tamms Correctional Center and IDOT to transport the filled sandbags. In addition, on Monday IEMA dispatched staff to Marion to coordinate with local emergency management officials on requests for state resources.
In March, IEMA pre-positioned 325,000 sandbags and 200 rolls of plastic at an IDOT facility in Carbondale to facilitate quick deployment if floods threatened. Since Sunday, more than 135,000 sandbags and nearly 50 rolls of plastic have been deployed to communities for their flood fights.
IEMA also conducted a series of nine meetings in March with local officials around the state to discuss flood preparation plans. Nearly 400 emergency managers, levee and drainage districts, local government and elected officials participated in the meetings, which were held in Bridgeport, Harrisburg, Metropolis, Quincy, Wood River, East Dubuque, Savanna, Gladstone and Milan.
More information about the state's flood response and flood safety is available on the Ready Illinois website.