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WJBD - Local News - Governor Quinn Declares Washington County A Disaster Area

The badly damaged St. John's Lutheran Church in New Minden after tornado hits during noon hour Sunday. Photo by Amy Whaley.

One of the most severely damaged homes in New Minden. Photo by Amy Whalen.

Governor Quinn Declares Washington County A Disaster Area

Governor Pat Quinn has declared Washington County and six other counties state disaster areas in the aftermath of severe storms that generated tornadoes and high winds across the state.  Six people lost their lives, including an elderly brother and sister near New Minden when their farm house was leveled by an EF4 tornado.  Quinn also plans to visit the hardest hit communities on Monday, ending in New Minden at 6:30 Monday night when he will be at 15,538 State Route 127.  Other counties declared disaster areas because of the storms are Champaign, Grundy, LaSalle, Massac, Tazewell, and Woodford Counties.  

Quinn says while they are still receiving reports of massive damage across the state, they want to make sure people are getting the assistance and resources they need as quickly as possible.  He says as we pray for the families of those who have lost their lives and others who are injured, the state of Illinois will do everything necessary to help these communities recover.

The state disaster declaration makes available a wide variety of state resources that can help affected communities respond and recover from the storms. The state of Illinois has personnel and assets that can be mobilized to help local government officials with disaster recovery, including such things as trucks, heavy equipment to remove debris, communications equipment and provide assistance with security and other public safety issues.

The State Incident Response Center (SIRC) in Springfield was activated Sunday afternoon and will remain operational as long as necessary. Liaisons from several state agencies are working with the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) to coordinate the deployment of state personnel and assets to assist local governments in the affected areas.

The state has dispatched technical rescue teams to a number of impacted locations across the state, and provided emergency generators, light towers and communications systems.

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