Flood victims learning lessons from past

April 22, 2013 (MOUNT PROSPECT, Ill.)

Two years ago a wall in the northern suburbs did not even exist, but now it is all that is holding back the raging Des Plaines River from rushing into Mount Prospect.

But you don't even need to live near a river, a pond or a lake to experience flood after flood.

"We can't live here because we don't have any heat or hot water," said Mary Kladis

For Kladis, memories came rushing back last week along with a whole lot of water.

This was the second time her Westchester home flooded in a little more than two years.

The water came up to the ceiling of her basement, they're scrapping everything.

"You can see some of the insulation and water dripping up here still," Kladis said.

In 2010: They called it a "hundred year flood." Then, like now, there were pleas for help.

"I'm ready to go to Washington, and I'm sure all the other mayors are as well, and say 'we need help,'" Westchester Village President Sam Pulia said back in 2010.

Pulia and others made that trip and the feds came through.

Federal money, $376 million, went to a little more than 109,000 residents in Cook and DuPage Counties.

But the maximum amount for damage to a single home is capped at roughly $30,000 - and it's not for those who have their own flood insurance.

"It does not cover couches, TV sets, things like that," Pulia said. "They basically said if you tip your house over whatever doesn't come out is what they cover."

Six days after the rain began, many homes remain underwater. From Fox Lake to communities near Crystal Lake, Chopper 7 found the cleanup can't even begin.

Des Plaines is slowly drying out. The water is gone from Westchester.

But Kladis and her family feel just as they did nearly three years ago: All alone, now awaiting a flood of bills.

"Since we pay the insurance can we get any help or are we being punished for having flood insurance?" she said.

The levee is holding fine, but an overwhelmed sewer system led to widespread flooding in some neighborhoods and the Des Plaines' mayor Matt Bogusz is saying the wall is making flooding worse in his community. There is talk this could wind up in court.

The Mount Prospect mayor Irvana K. Wilks says all she is doing is protecting her residents.

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