Illinois’ emergency managers say no one should expect help from the federal government once the flood waters in northern Illinois finally go down.

It is still very much a question of if Illinois will get any federal flood help, not when.

Patti Thompson, a spokeswoman for the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, said last week that most of the state’s flooded rivers are dropping, but there are still lingering pools of water. Thompson said it will take some time to assess the damage left behind.

But Thompson said there’s also the issue of whether there will be enough damage for local governments to qualify for help.

“For all of the counties that were impacted, all of their costs and the costs to the state of Illinois for the help we are providing would have to total $18.3 million.” Thompson said.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has per-capita thresholds for states and counties to qualify for help. Illinois must see $1.43 in damage a person before the state qualifies for help. Counties must see $3.61 per person before they qualify for federal aid.

Thompson said that’s just government costs for things like overtime, sandbags, and repairs to things like roads and bridges.

She said people who have damage to their homes have to rely almost entirely on insurance.

“Insurance is your best bet to be made whole,” Thompson said. “The important thing for people to remember is that flood insurance is not a part of your normal homeowners’ insurance policy.”

Thompson said IEMA is asking communities in Lake, Cook, McHenry, and Kane counties to start to assess their flood damage, and get some preliminary estimates to Springfield this week.



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