Alexander County reports more than $1 million in damages to state

Monday was the deadline to submit flood damage in Illinois. Alexander County reported $1,067,000 in damages, but in order to qualify for FEMA help the state needs to submit $18 million in damages.

Alexander County Board Chair Chalen Tatum says this is a preliminary estimate of damages. He says damages reported Monday include 25 homes.

“Homes the people were living in, county roads that were torn up, city water and sewer areas in Cairo that were damaged, but people who hadn’t finished fixing homes from 2011 floods that doesn’t include them. It doesn’t include any farmland or barns, or garages or sheds, anything like that,” Tatum said.

That damage will be assessed next, like David Willis’ barn that was swept away by the flood.

“I expected the barn to be here. This barn was built in about 1970, ’74, ’75, and it’s been through every flood since then,” Willis said.

His old home next door also flooded.

“It should’ve been gone by now,” Willis said.

This property wouldn’t be his problem if he weren’t still waiting for a FEMA buyout from 2011.

Tatum says a lot of people are still waiting on the buyout and that the state has the money set aside. He says that money has been frozen because of a lack of a state budget.

Tatum is hoping the state reaches the $18 million damage threshold.

“If we don’t, we don’t have anything countywide to help people, and the state says that they don’t have any money except for small business loans,” Tatum said.

Tatum expects to find out later this week if the state qualifies for FEMA aid to help farming communities like theirs that can’t pick-up and move the ground they depend on for their livelihood.

Tatum says once the state adds up the numbers they will submit it to the federal government asking for outside federal assistance.

Evan Webb & the Rural Route Ramblers announced Monday they’re holding a concert to fundraise for flood victims. It will be April 2 at the Ac-Brase-Arena in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. They’ve also released a new song, "Dry up or Drown." Part of the proceeds for iTunes downloads of the song will also go to flood victims.

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