ALTON — After the governor’s disaster declaration for seven counties across Illinois, community leaders and local elected officials are working together to tackle flooding problems being caused by massive rainfall.
State Rep. Dan Beiser, D-Alton, is calling on federal authorities to release disaster relief and assistance to help provide immediate security for the Riverbend region.
“The amount of rainfall that the region has had recently is extremely dangerous,” Beiser said. “In Alton alone, there have been numerous mudslides, and several major roads and highways throughout the surrounding communities have had to close. I commend municipal workers and other volunteers that have been working tirelessly to sandbag the area to make it safer for drivers, but our area needs more help to ensure the safety of friends, family and neighbors.”
In addition to sandbagging roads, city workers have been placing barricades on certain streets to help drivers take safer alternative routes. The Alton Police Department has also warned drivers to be more cautious in their daily commutes by driving more slowly and not rushing to reach their destinations. Drivers are also encouraged to turn around if they encounter flooded roads, as many flood deaths and injuries occur because of vehicles being swept away.
“The disaster declaration will help to shine a spotlight on the need for assistance with federal authorities,” Beiser said. “It will also continue to emphasize the marshaling of all state agency resources to help with impacted areas. Our area is truly in need of federal assistance. We need to be able to provide flooding relief for homeowners and businesses, and the assistance is needed to be able to begin the rebuilding process in our communities.”
State Sen. Bill Haine, D-Alton, said he was also worried about the impact of the heavy rain.
“This is very alarming,” Haine said. “This is a jarring example of the importance of our upgraded levees and the legislation that financed those improvements. Now that a disaster has been declared, we can begin the rebuilding process. We are all grateful for the swift action taken by first responders, city and county workers, and the private citizens who have volunteered to respond to this crisis. Our area has had a history of responding in this manner in the past, especially with the flood of 1993.”
Anyone who requires assistance or needs to report property damage should contact the Madison County Emergency Management Agency. The agency is responding to the flooding and coordinating local and state resources, and can be reached at (618) 296-4478.