State Rep. Brandon Phelps, D-Harrisburg, released the following statement today calling on President Barack Obama and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to declare a disaster for fourteen counties in Southern Illinois that are being threatened by rising water levels:
“Local county officials and Governor Rauner have already declared a disaster because of the flooding, and now I’m calling on the president to do the same. Peoples’ lives are at risk and we need to activate any and all resources to help limit the damage and ensure the public’s safety. Whether it’s a home, livestock or a business, we have a responsibility to do everything we can to protect residents’ livelihoods from these dangerous flood waters.
“The president has the ability to provide more resources that can be helpful in preventing further damage to the affected areas and assisting residents impacted once the floodwaters have receded. We need to be proactive in our efforts, not reactive. Declaring a disaster will give our local and state officials more means to combat the rising water levels and hopefully prevent any further damage.
“We must all step up and do our part to help our neighbors get through this difficult time. As Southern Illinoisans, we have shown time and again that there isn’t a thing we cannot do when we come together. This time is no different, so please volunteer if you can, donate needed materials and help out in whatever way possible.
“My office is ready and willing to what is needed and I hope the president will follow suit by declaring a disaster for these affected areas.”