CALHOUN COUNTY, IL – Calhoun County is getting squeezed by the swollen Illinois and the Mississippi Rivers where emergency services officials have declared a state of emergency.
People who live and work around the areas especially near Main and Water Streets are dealing with flood waters rushing in, from both rivers. Many of them admittedly feeling a bit nervous.
It has reached a point where even the local fire department has been needing volunteers to help them keep the water out with sandbagging.
“This is a small-town community and everybody gets out,” said Fire chief Steve Miller with the Hardin Fire Protection District. “When somebody calls in a need, everybody shows up and helps fill that need and that’s what helped save us.”
The chief said that a lot of the sandbagging effort is mostly thanks to students from Brussel and Calhoun High schools who took on the tedious if not a tiring task as soon as school let out.
Flooding is nothing new to the small community but with rain being forecasted for the next few days, residents said there is concern about the Nutwood levee breaching which could then force flood waters to take over Illinois Route 16.
“If we lose that road we lose access to our fuel and our food,” said Chuck Lanczkowski, director of the Calhoun County Emergency Services. “We’ve already had problems up on the north side. We have a temporary road up there that is now underwater and can’t be used anymore.”
Melissa Zipprich who works at the community’s only local doctor’s office has been spending her time sandbagging around it to make sure that the medical facility stays open to continue serving people needing medical attention.
“This is our only option,” Zipprich said, “our next facility is 25 to 30 miles down the road. If that requires for me to walk through water to get to work then I will walk through water to get to work.”
For information on how you can volunteer, call village clerk Danielle Hurley at 618-578-4762.