U.S. Senators Barack Obama and Dick Durbin today released the following statement after levees breached at Lima Lake and Indian Graves this morning. Tomorrow, President Bush visits the region to assess the damage and the relief efforts.
"As families across the Midwest continue to suffer from severe flooding, many Illinoisans faced another major setback today as levees breached at Lima Lake and Indian Graves. Our hearts go out to all of those who have been evacuated over the past few days, and to those who have lost their homes and businesses to rising water.
"We are working with state and local governments, as well as our colleagues in the Midwest, to ensure we have the resources we need to protect and rebuild our communities. We have visited the state in the past few days, and have been so impressed and humbled by Illinoisans' steadfast resolve and passion for doing everything they can to save their homes and those of their neighbors.
"There is no doubt that more damage and destruction will occur in the days ahead, on top of the billions of dollars of damage that has already been assessed. Tomorrow, President Bush will visit the region to evaluate the damage, and we call on him to make a real commitment to rebuilding the Midwest, in the short term and in the long term. Illinois, like many other places, has suffered more than it needed to because so many resources that could be used for emergency preparedness are diverted elsewhere.
"The President must utilize every relevant federal agency, including FEMA, the Army Corps of Engineers, HUD, Commerce, USDA, and SBA, to coordinate and collaborate with state and local agencies in order to help the families and businesses that have lost so much. While many of these levees were updated over the past few years, they remain far behind where they should be to handle these water levels. They must be rebuilt to appropriate standards. It is the long-term recovery that will be the most challenging and that will need the most support. Rebuilding will not be done overnight, but we need the full commitment of the federal government to know that once the water subsides, the rebuilding will take place."