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East St. Louis leaders hold press conference to discuss relief efforts, flood causes

Families forced out of their East St. Louis homes are still in need of help a week after torrential rains caused historic flooding.

EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. — East St. Louis leaders and residents returned to City Hall Tuesday, a week after it was used as a shelter for residents affected by flooding and historic rainfall.

Mayor Robert Eastern III stood united with regional leaders, first responders, and relief agencies to discuss successes from recovery efforts following the historic flood and to address the need for solutions for future flooding.

Eastern said at least 50 families were displaced and that millions of dollars of property had been destroyed including homes and vehicles.

Marcus Harris Pride lives in one of the hardest hit areas, off Terrace Drive

He told 5 On Your Side he lost thousands of dollars in belongings and his spouse’s ashes.

His neighbors’ homes and cars were pummeled by water.

"It’s devastating," Pride said. "I mean just to look around and see kids and husbands and wives trying to get to a safe place. That's a hurtful feeling."

Leaders recognized the damage to homes and businesses and the quick response to keep citizens safe.

"The City of St. Louis came together and showed out. We got our residents out the area. We had multiple cars that were flooded. The two trucks came in. Got those cars out,” said Chief Jason Blackmon with the East St. Louis Fire Department.

Mayor Robert Eastern addressed the reason for existing flood problems in the city.

He pointed to the Harding Ditch near the intersection of Interstate 255 and State Street.

That intakes rainwater from developed areas above the Mississippi River bluffs.

In addition, the city's broken pumps, and a much-needed civil engineering study to relieve pressure off the sewer system.

Eastern added that they had been civil engineering company that advised the city it would be upwards of $10 million to reconstruct the ditch.

"The feasibility for that getting done financially is just not there."

Those with damage to their property should call United Way at 211 to report it.

A Multi-Agency Resource Center for community members to discuss the damage and need with multiple agencies will open up at East St. Louis Senior High School on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.

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