Flooding plagued much of the state in 2019. As the floodwaters recede, the damage they caused are being assessed. 

Gov. JB Pritzker hopes that the federal government can step in to help, prompting a July 15 release from his office urging residents or business owners to report any related damage to their local emergency management agency.

“While the ultimate decision on our state receiving federal funds lies with Washington, my administration is committed to doing everything in our power to ensure our communities get all resources available to recover,” said Pritzker in a news release. “Our state has not received a federal disaster declaration since 2013 and there is no doubt this will be an uphill battle.”

In order to qualify for federal assistance, the state must meet or surpass $19 million in damages.

County EMAs have been asked to submit all damage reports to the state by July 22. A formal request for federal assistance must be submitted by Aug. 3, which, according to the release, is 30 days after the last impacted river fell below the major flood stage.

Tazewell County EMA Director Dawn Cook said Tazewell County submissions have totaled about $115,000 in damages as of Thursday, July 18. She added the county had been relatively lucky in terms of flood damage, with the southern part of the state seeing the worst of it.

Cook said East Peoria and Mackinaw were two communities that asked for assistance. East Peoria asked for pumps to help drain floodwaters, and Mackinaw asked for plastic and sandbags, she said.

According to the release from Pritzker’s office, the State Emergency Operations Center in Springfield has been activated for more than 150 days to help combat floodwaters. 

In an effort to make the reporting process easier, the state has created a website that the news release said allows business owners and residents to submit damage reports online. Once the damage reports are submitted, the information will be forwarded to the proper emergency management agency, said the news release.

UPDATE 3:40 p.m.: Rep. Cheri Bustos (IL-17) and Darin LaHood (IL-18), along with fellow lawmakers from Illinois and Iowa, voice support for emergency dredging funding requests from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Rock Island District in a letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Mississippi Valley Division.

According to a news release from Bustos’ office, the funding would be used to bring the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers back to authorized channel levels. 

This would be done, at least partly, to ensure that goods could be moved along the Upper Mississippi River and Illinois River with greater ease, after shipment of goods became difficult, or were halted completely, during flooding.

If you have been affected by flooding in Tazewell County, contact Montana Samuels at msamuels@timestoday.com, or on Twitter or Facebook, @montanasamuels.