IEMA officials, state lawmakers tour Bloomington-Normal flood damage

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BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (WMBD) — Friday marks one week since devastating storms and floods rolled through McLean County and left significant damage.

Now, the community is looking to repair and replace items or properties left destroyed.

Friday, July 2, and Saturday, July 3, Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) officials cased the Twin Cities, surveying damages, and planned to go door-to-door to get accurate assessments.

On Friday, local elected leaders and IEMA officials toured Home Sweet Home Ministries in Bloomington after the non-profit received major damage in the basement.

Assessing the damage throughout the county is the first step in potentially securing state or federal relief.

State Rep Dan Brady (R-105th District, Normal) organized the tour along with State Sen Sally Turner (R-44th Disttrict, Lincoln) in order to give IEMA officials a better understanding of just how much damage was done at the ‘hands’ of flood waters.

A representative from Congressman Rodney Davis’ office and the McLean County interim-administrator were also on-hand.

Brady said since last weekend, he’s been getting calls non-stop asking about IEMA, FEMA, and other ways or means of assistance.

“Obviously, they have their work cut out for them in what assistance they can and can’t do over the restrictions and guidelines they have to follow,” Brady said.

The water inside the HSHM basement reached, at its peak, 38 inches. According to CEO Matt Burgess, it’s going to cost well over $300,000 to repair and replace damaged items.

“We’ve seen dozens of people already respond with donations, [and] all kinds of contacts to us from churches and other non-profits asking if they can help,” Burgess said.

Both Normal’s mayor, Chris Koos, and Bloomington’s mayor, Mboka Mwilambwe, took part in the tour. Mwilambwe and Koos said residents in the town and the city received similar flooding issues.

“The state does need to provide the help that is needed because I think insurance is not going to get everything done,” Mwilambwe said.

For assistance from the federal or state governments, damages county-wide must meet a certain threshold. For the state, that’s $20 million before any assistance can be handed out.

Chief of Staff for I-EMA Declan Binninger said it’s a difficult threshold to meet.

“Without meeting both of those thresholds, it’s going to be difficult to get an APA declaration. I’m not saying it will or wont happen, just that’s what we’re up against,” Binninger said.

Binninger and Brady said it’s a team effort to get an accurate assessment of storm costs.

“There are teams on the ground right now. It’s 40 people, all volunteers, knocking on doors right now. These are people from your community who decided to take time out of their day,” Binninger said.

Binninger said the I-EMA and McLean County Emergency Operations Center are concentrating this weekend on hardest hit areas, like HSHM.

Residents are encouraged to fill out the McLean County EMA’s damage self-assessment form.

Donations to Home Sweet Home Ministries can be made on their website, or in person at 303 E. Oakland Ave in Bloomington.

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