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June 18, 2008

Gov. Blagojevich headed to Quincy area to tour Mississippi River flooding; two additional levees break early this morning
State continues to make plans for future flooding and to assist those already impacted

SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today will visit the Quincy area to tour flooding along the Mississippi River, after two additional levees broke early this morning.  The Lima Lake levee in Adams County broke around 1:30 this morning, followed by the Indian Grave levee at approximately 6:30.  People in the City of Warsaw have been evacuated; at this time there are no reports of injury or loss of life, as most of this area is farm land.

“Our priority remains protecting residents along the Mississippi River. We are not only providing help for communities affected by flood waters in areas where levees have broken, but we are also planning for the possibility that more areas could be affected,” said Gov. Blagojevich.  “I’ll be touring areas impacted by the flood waters and looking at what our next steps will be, in order to protect the lives of people along the river.”

To date, the Governor has deployed 1,100 Illinois National Guard troops to assist with sandbagging and other efforts.  More than 300 correctional inmates have been working around the clock on sandbagging operations.  Other resources being provided during this emergency include conservation police officers and boats from the Illinois Department of National Resources, as well as security detail provided by the Illinois State Police.  Trucks and other equipment from the Illinois Department of Transportation are being utilized, Central Management Services is working to procure necessary supplies, Illinois Environmental Protection Agency efforts are concentrated on protecting drinking water supplies and ensuring the integrity of waste water treatment plant operations, and the Illinois Department of Public Health is stockpiling water to ensure communities impacted by the flooding have safe water to drink.

Nine levees have broken so far in Illinois due to flood waters: five levees broke last week in east-central Illinois and now four levees have broken along the Mississippi River.

“We were able to quickly send rescue assistance, due to the fact that we had planned for such an event and had previously staged resources in this area,” Gov. Blagojevich.  “We are very thankful that no one was injured by this close call, and will continue to work around the clock to try to protect people along the Mississippi River.”

Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) Director Andrew Velasquez III said the preliminary damage assessment process will continue today in the east-central part of the state with the deployment of a team consisting of staff from IEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).  The team will begin determining the severity of the damage to homes and businesses starting in Cumberland County today and traveling to Clark, Coles, Crawford, Douglas, Jasper, and Lawrence counties over the next several days.

To date the Governor has declared 19 counties disaster areas, including: Adams, Calhoun, Clark, Coles, Crawford, Cumberland, Douglas, Hancock, Henderson, Jasper, Jersey, Knox, Lake, Lawrence, Madison, Mercer, Pike, Rock Island and Winnebago.

For the latest information on flooding, shelters, and what to do during and after a flood, log onto www.ready.illinois.gov.


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