Federal agents tour flood area

June 24, 2008 9:06:26 AM PDT
As floodwaters recede in the far northwestern suburbs, some residents return to their homes. There is much work ahead for the 400 families in Antioch Township who have some sort of damage from the floods.

Jan Todd was one of the homeowners forced to evacuate due to the rising water. On Monday, she returned home to see the damage for the first time in two weeks.

"It is heart-breaking but people have it worse than we do. At least I can go back to my home," said Todd.

As Todd returned to her home, local and federal officials surveyed the overall damage.

"If there is a federal disaster declared, then individuals in declared counties, and that includes renters and homeowners, would be eligible to apply for individual assistance. And businessowners,homeowners and renters would be eligible to apply for low interest loans," said Susan Soloman, Federal Emergency Management.

"We felt it important to get them out here while there was still high water in places so they could appreciate the impact. Unlike areas where there are raging river floods and houses get washed away, we don't typically see that kind of flooding. We see inundation flooding, which is much more insidious," said Kent McKenzie, Lake Co. Emergency Management.

Steve Smouse, Antioch Township supervisor, said flooding is an ongoing problem.

"This has almost been one continuous event since last August. Last August we had almost 20 inches of rain," said Smouse, who said residents may have to look at raising their property or relocating. "We are going to have a meeting after the Fourth of July with them and others to give people options as to what they can do. A lot of it depends on whether they make it a federal disaster area or not."

Governor Blagojevich would have to officially ask the president to declare the area a federal disaster.

The "State Flood Recovery Assistance Hotline" opens Tuesday. The number is 1-866-848-2067. The line will be open from 8:30 in the morning, until 8:30 at night.


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