Vermilion County Added to List of Flood Disaster Areas

Last week’s floods have had a devastating impact on many communities in central and southern Illinois, and today Governor Rauner increased the number of counties that will have access to a variety of State resources to help communities respond and recover. Vermilion County is now part of that 23-county list.

A state disaster declaration by the Governor triggers the availability of resources like sandbags, sand, pumps, trucks, inmate crews and other assistance items that can help ensure public safety during the flood response. The State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) in Springfield was activated on December 28, and remains in place to coordinate flood response efforts such as the deployment of personnel and resources to affected areas.

As flood waters begin to recede, local emergency management personnel will begin collecting damage information from affected property owners and units of government. The collected information will be forwarded to the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA), where it will be reviewed so that a determination can me made whether the total damages meet the threshold for a federal disaster declaration (required for federal dollars to become available). If it appears the State meets the federal assistance criteria, the Governor can request a major disaster declaration from the President.

If a federal disaster declaration is made, two types of federal assistance will become available:

  • Individual Assistance Program: offers grants and low-interest loans to people affected by the flood
  • Public Assistance Program: provides reimbursement up to 75% of eligible costs incurred by local governments as they engage in flood recovery efforts
According to the Governor’s office, while there is no defined damage amount for Individual Assistance, past experience suggests that it takes hundreds of homes with severe damage to qualify for the program. To that end all homeowners with damage are encouraged to file a report. The Public Assistance program has a population-based threshold, which for Illinois is $18.1 million statewide. If and when the state meets the statewide threshold, individual counties would also have to meet a threshold of $3.56 times the county’s population.

Additional updates on the flood and recovery efforts can be found on the Ready Illinois website at www.ready.illinois.gov.