CHICAGO (WGN) — Gov. J.B. Pritzker issued a disaster proclamation for counties across Central and Southern Illinois Monday after storms damaged the areas over the weekend.
Pritzker said the disaster proclamation will help expedite state resources to help communities. It includes funding, but also personnel and equipment aid.
“My administration is committed to standing with Edwardsville and all of the surrounding communities affected in every aspect of the immediate recovery, as well as on the road to rebuilding,” Pritzker said in a statement. “Yesterday, I authorized a state disaster proclamation for Madison County, as well as all storm-impacted counties, to facilitate recovery efforts as well as the pursuit of additional federal resources. We are working directly with the White House and FEMA to ensure access to all federal resources for this community. And as local entities work to secure federal reimbursements and recovery dollars, we will assist every step of the way.”
Counties included in the declaration include:
Pritzker also said he toured the site of the collapsed Amazon warehouse Monday morning in Edwardsville where state and local officials briefed him on the disaster response. An EF-3 tornado tore through that area Friday. Six people were killed.
The victims are 28-year-old Deandre S. Morrow of St. Louis; 62-year-old Kevin D. Dickey of Carlyle, Illinois; 29-year-old Clayton Lynn Cope of Alton, Illinois; 34-year-old Etheria S. Hebb of St. Louis; 46-year-old Larry E. Virden of Collinsville, Illinois; and 26-year-old Austin J. McEwen of Edwardsville.
The tornado, with top winds estimated at 155 miles per hour, ripped the roof off the Amazon facility just after 8:30 p.m. and caused the building to collapse on itself.
Pritzker’s officer said six tornadoes were confirmed throughout Illinois.
During the morning press conference, Pritzker asked for a moment of silence to pray for the injured and those lost in the tragedy.
“Edwardsville, we stand with you as one Illinois,” said Pritzker.
Illinois is working directly with the White House and FEMA to ensure access to all federal resources for this community.
The Edwardsville Community Foundation relief fund is accepting gifts. Amazon has made a $1 million donation to the fund to deploy resources and help this community get back on its feet.
Pritzker said there is already an effort underway to determine if there were any challenges with the structure.
He also said the tornado was something unexpected and that is happening more and more often through Illinois. He said he has spoken to legislators about looking at building codes to see if changes need to be made based on climate change.