Gov. Pritzker Activates Additional Troops to Southern Illinois Flood Fight

Local, State officials urge residents to consider voluntary evacuations

Springfield, Ill. – An additional 80 Illinois National Guardsmen have been added to State Active Duty by Governor JB Pritzker and are reporting to East Cape Girardeau to join the on-going flood fight in southern Illinois. In all, approximately 140 guardsmen are dedicated to sandbagging operations, levee monitoring and security in the East Cape Girardeau, McClure and Gale communities. Additionally, IEMA has stationed a Joint Quick Reactionary Taskforce, partnered with Mutual Aid Box Alarm System (MABAS) water rescue crews and ALS teams, in the area to help with emergency flood operations, including emergency evacuations and medical related needs. 

In response to this unprecedented flood, IEMA has worked hand-in-hand with local and county officials to ensure the communities affected by this disaster have access to every resource to ensure the stability of the critical community lifelines needed to endure this historic flood. In support of the State’s strategic objective to protect key transportation corridors, IDOT and IEMA have moved more than 150,000 sandbags, more than two dozen pumps, and other flood fighting tools to the area to keep evacuation routes open. However, due to inland flooding, authorities confirm both Illinois Route 3 and Illinois Route 146 in the immediate area of East Cape Girardeau are no longer viable, and further precipitation could lead to additional closures limiting the ability to safely self-evacuate. 

“Countless days of precipitation have aggravated the swollen rivers and are adding pressure on the saturated levees,” said Acting IEMA Director Alicia Tate-Nadeau. “Seepage has already closed significant transportation thoroughfares and based on current estimates, the window to safely self-evacuate is quickly approaching.”

The American Red Cross is operating a shelter in Cape Girardeau, Missouri at Zion United Methodist Church, 3652 State Highway Z for those to who need a place to stay. Services offered by the American Red Cross are free of charge. If residents need help evacuating their home, they are urged to contact their local emergency management agency or local law enforcement office. 

Emergency management officials are urging residents in the affected communities to take the following steps to keep their family safe in the event of an emergency:

  • Pack now, not later. Have an emergency go bag packed for a quick evacuation. You want to pack for all members of your family, including your pets. Don’t forget your medications, glasses, cellphones and chargers.

  • Because families may not be together when an evacuation order comes in, have a family communications plan to ensure everyone has the essential information and knows where to meet up post-evacuation.

  • Follow instructions of local authorities. If you do not have friends or family to assist you with an evacuation, listen to your radio or TV for information on provisions being made to assist those who need housing assistance. The American Red Cross and local authorities can help those with special needs during an evacuation.

  • Have more than one way to receive important weather information. Because disasters can occur while you are at home, at school, at work or on vacation, make sure your mobile phone can receive emergency alerts. Monitor television, radio and internet for updates, and where possible, sign up for your community’s emergency alert system.

  • Check on your neighbors. During a disaster, 46% of individuals expect to rely on the people in their neighborhood for help within the first 72 hours after a disaster or emergency. 

An updated list of road closures is available on the IDOT website at www.idot.illinois.gov and through the interactive map on www.gettingaroundillinois.com. In an effort to encourage everyone in Illinois is prepared for emergencies, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency’s public preparedness website, Ready Illinois, is available in multiple languages, including Spanish, French, German, Filipino and more. To learn more about emergency preparedness for all hazards, man-made or natural, visit www.ready.illinois.gov.