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Public Statements

Letter to David Paulison, Administrator of FEMA, and John Paul Woodley, Jr., Assistant Secretary of the Army, Civil Works, Re: Federal Assistance

Durbin, Obama and Illinois Delegation Members Request Federal Assistance

U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Barack Obama (D-IL) were joined today by members of the Illinois Delegation in asking the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to provide immediate assistance to help the State of Illinois prepare for the anticipated flooding of the Mississippi River and other waterways.

The Illinois members wrote, "The predicted impact of flood waters is greater than our capacity to prepare for a disaster of this size. Specifically, IEMA is in need of additional pumps, hoses, sandbags, sandbag-filling machines, and generators. As we continue to work closely with the state to prepare for the floods, we strongly urge you to help IEMA obtain these critical resources and deliver them to vulnerable communities."

Members signing on to today's letter include Representatives Jerry Costello (D-IL), Rahm Emanuel (D-IL), Bill Foster (D-IL), Phil Hare (D-IL), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Ray LaHood (R-IL), Don Manzullo (R-IL), Peter Roskam (D-IL), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and John Shimkus (R-IL).

[text of the letter below]

June 13, 2008

R. David Paulison
Administrator
Federal Emergency Management Agency
Office of the Director
500 C Street S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20472

The Honorable John Paul Woodley, Jr.
Assistant Secretary of the Army, Civil Works
108 Army Pentagon
Room 3E446
Washington, D.C. 20310

Dear Administrator Paulison and Assistant Secretary Woodley:

We write to request that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers make the following items immediately available to the State of Illinois: additional pumps, hoses, sandbags, sandbag-filling machines, and generators. These items are necessary to help the state prepare for the anticipated flooding of the Mississippi River and other waterways.

Unusually heavy rainfall in May and June and current storms in Iowa and Wisconsin are expected to cause major flooding along the Mississippi River. With water levels forecasted to break or come close to the records set by the devastating Great Flood of 1993, several levees are projected to overtop or approach freeboard and multiple locks and dams have been closed.

Governor Rod Blagojevich has already declared six Illinois counties state disaster areas and is expected to issue more disaster declarations today in anticipation of the record flooding levels. The Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA), the Rock Island and St. Louis Army Corps of Engineers, and the Illinois National Guard are also coordinating their flood preparation and mitigation efforts. Unfortunately, the predicted impact of flood waters is greater than our capacity to prepare for a disaster of this size. IEMA is still in need of additional pumps, hoses, sandbags, sandbag-filling machines, and generators.

As we continue to work closely with the state to prepare for the floods, we strongly urge you to help IEMA obtain these critical resources and deliver them to vulnerable communities. We would be happy to provide you with more information and will work with you in every way possible. Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,


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