But Illinois is spending its FEMA money wisely, according to Patti
Thompson, spokeswoman for the Illinois Emergency Management Agency.
Illinois received $5.2 million from the Federal Emergency Management
Agency in 2010 for severe storms and flooding assistance for
communities, according to FEMA.
"We have experienced a lot of flooding over the years, and one of
the things that we've done with the money throughout the years is
work with community buyouts of homes and properties that get
repeatedly flooded," Thompson said.
FEMA disburses dollar obligations to states after they send in an
estimate for costs of the flood damage.
The Mississippi River borders Illinois, Iowa and Missouri. Last
year, Missouri received $17.4 million from FEMA for public
assistance after severe storms, flooding and tornadoes. And Iowa
received $39.7 million for two flood emergencies, according to
Although states attempt to prepare for the worst, Mother Nature
sometimes has her own agenda.
In neighboring Iowa, folks experienced the worst flooding in 2008
when the Iowa and Cedar rivers flooded in eastern Iowa, recalled
Gary Brown, president of the Iowa Emergency Management Association
and coordinator of Woodbury County Emergency Management in Climbing
"The events of 2008 was far excessive than what forecasters
(predicted)," Brown said. "There are a lot of lessons learned. The
Iowa Flood Center (at the University of Iowa) was created after
those (flooding) incidents."
[to top of second column]
Illinois has declared 10 state emergencies due to flooding since
2001. But the Prairie State is not just spending its FEMA money on
sandbags -- it has invested some of its money in mitigation programs
under the Illinois Emergency Management Agency. The programs are
designed to buy out homes and structures that are in flood-prone
locations and to elevate and relocate the properties.
"(The programs) relieve the local community from having to (have)
continued flood fights in that area, and it saves everybody a lot of
money and a lot of personal hardship for the people that get
repeatedly flooded," IEMA's Thompson said.
The National Weather Service is predicting heavy rains this week
and flooding in southern Illinois. Gov. Pat Quinn said he directed
IEMA to help out the flood-prone communities in the region.
"We are committed to helping these areas deal with a very
difficult and potentially dangerous situation," he said.
Statehouse News; By MARY J. CRISTOBAL]