Gov. Blagojevich asks President Bush for federal assistance for Winnebago County following Sept. 4 flash flooding

Federal disaster declaration would help people and businesses recover from losses related to Labor Day flood

SPRINGFIELD—Illinois Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich asked President George W. Bush to declare Winnebago County a major disaster area as a result of flash flooding on Labor Day that damaged numerous homes and businesses. A federal disaster declaration would enable people in the area to apply for grants and loans to help with storm-related losses, while businesses would be eligible to apply for low-interest loans.

“The severe and sudden flooding on Labor Day in the Rockford area forced people from their homes and damaged dozens of buildings,” said Blagojevich. “We continue to explore every avenue to help the people of Winnebago County. Tonight, I’m asking President Bush to declare the area a disaster and provide even more help to those whose lives have been disrupted.”

Blagojevich’s request followed damage assessments conducted late last week by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA). The damage assessment found that nearly 290 single- or multi-family homes were impacted by the floodwaters. Twenty-nine single-family homes and 11 multi-family homes sustained major damage, while 30 single-family homes and 25 multi-family homes suffered minor damage. In addition, 190 single-family homes and two multi-family homes were affected by floodwaters. No residences were destroyed by the flood.

If granted, the federal disaster declaration would make assistance available, including assistance for individuals and households, which can include cash grants to help with temporary housing, home repairs and replacement and other disaster-related costs. The state also requested low-interest loans through the SBA, as well as hazard mitigation assistance, which could help fund projects to prevent similar flooding in the future.

Sept. 7, Blagojevich declared Winnebago County a state disaster area. The state has worked closely with Rockford and Winnebago County officials to assess the damage and offer assistance. To date, state assistance has included:

Staff from the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) was mobilized to the area to coordinate requests for state resources and conduct damage assessments.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) is assisting the City of Rockford in assessing the impact to waterways.

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) is assisting in assessing damage to bridges.

From the Sept. 13-19, 2006, issue

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