Macomb Local News
About 20 soldiers from the Illinois National Guard have been placed in southern parts of the state in order to respond and aid to areas that were hit hard by flooding, but Governor Rauner has hopes that they won't be needed. The Governor ordered the soldiers to the Marion Readiness Center on New Year's Day in order to help local officials, conduct health and welfare checks, and mitigate damage from the flooding. This past weekend, the Governor himself also went around to several affected areas and warned many people who are close to the Mississippi River to evacuate to limit potential damage, but some people just don't want to leave their homes. 
 
"We have had the National Guard on standby,I hope we won't need them, at this point it doesn't look like we will, in case we have to extract people and do some rescues. Right now it doesn't look like we're going to have to do that, but again we're asking people to honor the request for evacuation, that's critically important."
Bruce Rauner, Governor of Illinois
 
For evacuation purposes, Rauner said that a Blackhawk helicopter has been made available if necessary. While touring flooded areas around Alton, Pontoon Beach, and Evansville, the Governor also took time to praise the state's prison system for their assistance in the flood control. 
 
"Officers, as well as inmates, in the Department of Corrections have done a fantastic job creating sandbags and helping to load them and stack them."
Bruce Rauner, Governor of Illinois
 
Touring alongside Governor Rauner this weekend was Illinois Emergency Management Agency Director James Joseph. Joseph was out to tour the damage and assess available resources, however he says that with the cold setting, one of the big dangers of cleanup could be rapid hypothermia, and both the state and local volunteer groups are spreading awareness. 
 
"We do have some non-governmental volunteer organizations that are providing cleanup assistance in some communities as well. So we're going to continue to work with them to make sure that we get the safety message out as well."
James Joseph, Illinois Emergency Management
 
At present, Governor Rauner has declared a dozen counties disaster areas that are eligible for assistance. In addition to the military help and state cleanup, this means sandbags, pumps, and heavy equipment can all be utilized by these communities to help them recover from this flooding. Rauner also made it a point to mention that emergency response efforts have not been affected by the six-month-running budget impasse, as recent agreements at the statehouse allowed funds to be directed toward local first responders. 
 
"We do have some pockets of available money, potentially in the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to help small businesses recover, and some farmers recover. We'll see what we can do in that regard, we don't know at this point we're trying to assess the damage and get some financial measurements."
Bruce Rauner, Governor of Illinois