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Flood victims hope for funds to fix damage

July 28, 2010 7:02:24 AM PDT
Homeowners desperate for help packed a meeting in west suburban Westchester Tuesday night seeking assistance with flood cleanup. They also have concerns about future flooding.

There are an estimated 3,000 residents in Westchester who were affected by the flooding. They were hoping to hear that help is on the way. However, at this point, there is no guarantee that help is coming.

The dumpster in Tom Sullivan's driveway is full. And there's still more stuff in his basement to get rid of. Like a lot of Westchester residents, Sullivan suffered major damage and loss in Saturday's floods. But he's getting a lot of help cleaning up from friends.

"I am very fortunate, very blessed. I felt like a little bit of George bailey. The phone's ringing, 'can I come over to help? Can I do this? Can I do that?'" said Sullivan.

Sullivan stayed behind to work on the cleanup Tuesday night. But a couple thousand of his neighbors came to listen to village and county officials discuss their options in the wake of the flood. Many had to sit outside because the room was full. Most were hoping to hear financial relief is on the way.

"What we really want to hear is?how are we going to get money to fix, repair our broken items and torn up items?" said Glenn Nelson, flood victim.

"We are hoping that FEMA and the government is going tol help us. Because other than that, we don't know what else to do," said Lupe Garcia, flood victim.

Westchester's village president said he and other trustees also suffered water damage. He's urging residents to fill out damage assessment forms. The Salvation Army is handing them out with cleaning kits.

"It's time to start screaming about it and say, 'hey, we need help,'" said Sam Pulia, Westchester mayor.

Other cities hit by the flood are also looking for help. Berwyn and Cicero officials met on Tuesday as well. They are desperate homeowners like John McCarthy who throughout the area.

"It's the kind of sucker punch that every homeowner dreads, but very rarely happens in this area. And so that's what we're faced with and so we're faced now with picking up the pieces," said McCarthy.

The director of Cook County's Homeland Security Department, David Ramos, told ABC7 that in order for residents to get FEMA assistance, flood victims must fill out the proper paperwork. Then city, state and county officials have to sign disaster declaration forms, which has already happened. Then it goes to President Obama for his signature.


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