FEMA will help with damage assessment

SPRINGFIELD — Federal help could be on the way for Villa Grove, Watseka and other communities still recovering from recent flooding.

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner announced Thursday that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will assist with damage assessments in areas affected by heavy rains in late December and early January.

On Feb. 4, officials from FEMA, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. Small Business Administration and local emergency management agencies will visit Douglas, Iroquois and eight other counties to begin assessing the damage to homes and businesses.

Beginning Feb. 1, FEMA was expected to start working with state and local officials to assess storm-related costs incurred by local governments in Iroquois, Moultrie, Vermilion and 16 other counties.

“We want to do everything possible to help people and communities affected by this devastating flooding and the severe storms that preceded it,” Rauner said in a news release. “These damage assessments will provide us with greater detail as to the impact of these storms and could be used to support a request for federal assistance if the results indicate we meet federal requirements.”

The state has provided assistance to many of communities affected by flooding, including more than one million sandbags, 10,515 tons of rock, 4,546 tons of sand, 732 rolls of plastic, 8,600 hours by inmates filling and placing sandbags, and 133,000 sandbags filled by inmates. 

Also, the state Emergency Operations Center in Springfield was activated on Dec. 28 to coordinate deployments of personnel and resources to help communities battle floodwaters.

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