Water Pumps, U.S. Coast Guard fight floodwaters in Alexander Co, Ill.

Water Pumps, US Coast Guard fight floodwaters in Alexander Co, IL

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - The state of Illinois and the federal government have been sending supplies and manpower to help with flood prevention efforts in Alexander County, Ill.

As of June 3, five water pumps are up and running and members of the United States Coast Guard arrived to help protect small communities along the Mississippi River.

US Coast Guard Chief Steve Kelly leads the eight-man marine safety unit from Paducah, Ky.

Kelly said their goal is to stay ahead of the rising water by adding onto sandbag walls.

“We have to reinforce it. We’ve got to make it higher, we have to make it bigger,” Kelly said. “So we are going to be proactive. Get it done beforehand help prevent things from happening instead of reactive and then we are responding a day late.”

But if worse comes to worse, Kelly said the Coast Guard also brought three boats to help people escape their flooded homes.

“I have a crew right now, going to go with an elderly women," said Kelly. "She can’t get to her trailer in the back because the road is covered with water, but it’s shallow enough that we can get our high rise truck through there so we are going to help her get over there to get her much needed medication and oxygen tank.”

Five water pumps are now running around the clock to keep floodwater away from the buildings and off the roads.

Emergency Management Director Mike Tuner said seven more water pumps are on the way to a levee near Gale, Ill.

“We’ve got to try to keep as much going as we can," said Turner. "It’s just a lot of water has to move. Everything from Union County, from the Jackson County line drains down here. We’re the low part. It’s needed and we’ll get it going.”

When all the water pumps are up and running, more than 80,000 gallon of water per minute can be pumped out of these flooded areas. This will come in handy, as more rain is expect this week.

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