Flood assistance meeting in Whiteside County

FULTON, Ill. (KWQC) - Whiteside County held a meeting on Thursday evening to help people affected by flooding, giving information about who can help and how.

There were over 100 residents in Fulton hoping to get answers about what they can do when their basements are flooded. Many of them have water in their houses and they're not even close to the Mississippi River.

"It's very depressing to think that your ideal home is so compromised" said Annette Widener, whose house is a few neighborhoods away from the Mississippi.

The Mississippi River has been at major flood stage for months, and it's been affecting everyone; not just those living on the river.

Seth Janssen, the Emergency Management Director for Whiteside County said, "most of these folks don't live just long the river they live in a floodplain that's protected by a levee. The groundwater level is so high and causing so many problems miles away from the river even."

Widener has had water in her house for weeks, even though she's over a mile away from the Mississippi.

"We've had 2-3 inches of water despite the fact we had 4 sump pumps running. If it weren't for those, I'm sure we'd be totally flooded at this point in time. It is not coming in the walls, it's coming up through the floor" she shared.

They can't even start the clean up yet because there's still water sitting in her house, "there's not a lot we can do and that's part of the frustration people are feeling. we've been seeing this for a long time now."

When she bought the house a few years ago, they were told they wouldn't need flood insurance because they were so far from the river, and now it's too late.

"I'm sure they're not going to sell flood insurance to someone with 3 inches of water in their basement, you know, it's like closing the barn door after the horse is gone" said Widener.

But, she's happy there was this meeting to get some information as to what they can do.

"I hope that the beginning tonight is backed up by some action down the road... I really don't think that's a lot to ask in a situation like this that some help be forthcoming" Widener said.

Some of the agencies there to help were Illinois' Department of Public Health, the Attorney General's office, the American Red Cross, and more. They'll be offering their support even after the water recedes.

You can contact the Whiteside County for assistance and they'll direct you towards the proper department.

Whiteside County Health Department's phone: 815-772-7411
Whiteside County Sheriff's office phone: 815-772-4044