No immediate federal help expected for flood victims

Updated 7/18/2017 4:21 PM

Gov. Bruce Rauner's state disaster proclamation for Lake, McHenry, Kane and parts of Cook counties has made state trucks, pumps and sandbags available to flood victims.

But federal officials say it's too early for a presidential declaration of a major disaster and the federal support dollars that come with it.


Federal Emergency Management Agency spokeswoman Casandra Ringsdorf said Tuesday that federal officials are aware of the flooding that has devastated parts of Northern Illinois in the past week. But state and local agencies remain in charge.

"We remain in close contact with state officials who, in support of local emergency management officials, are currently handling the response and recovery to this event," Ringsdorf said. "It is still early in the event, and local flood fight and assessments are ongoing at this point."

Once those preliminary damage assessments are made, Rauner can decide whether to invoke the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act and submit a request, through the regional FEMA office, for President Donald Trump to make either an emergency or major disaster declaration.

Rauner said his state proclamation will ensure the state continues to provide whatever assistance is needed in the coming days as the affected counties begin recovery efforts.

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The Illinois Emergency Management Agency has made a FAQ for flood victims available online.

But a major disaster declaration by the president would provide a wide range of federal assistance programs for individuals and public infrastructure, including funds for both emergency and permanent work.

The determination for which programs are authorized is based on the types of assistance that would be specified in the governor's request and the needs identified during the preliminary damage assessments.

Representatives for Rauner did not immediately respond to questions Tuesday about whether the governor has initiated the process.

According to, the individual programs could include financial assistance and direct services for losses caused by the disaster that are not covered by insurance; crisis counseling; unemployment assistance; and legal services.


A special link has been designated at to determine if you would qualify for individual assistance by typing in your address.

The public assistance wing of any federal declaration likely would include financial assistance for the repair or replacement of damaged roads and bridges or utilities.

Gurnee spokesman Jack Linehan said village staff members have begun compiling data and conducting assessments to provide to Lake County and the state in hopes of receiving federal assistance.

"We're trying to get an idea what this flood meant, not only to Gurnee, but to all of Lake County, and it's not an easy process," he said Tuesday. "But everyone should know that we're working and trying to get everything reported so that we can get any and all assistance that is out there for our residents."

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