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Red Cross opens shelter in East St. Louis for evacuated flood victims

For some people who live in East St. Louis, Saturday is the first day they've been able to get back into their neighborhoods.

EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. — Some East St. Louis residents had to evacuate Friday due to health concerns. On Saturday, the Red Cross and United Way set up a shelter at Mason-Clark Middle School.

“When I got out of the bed and put my feet on the floor, water was above my ankle,” East St. Louis resident Teenette Dae said as she described historic flooding in her neighborhood this week.

Dae said Saturday was the first day she was even able to drive down her street after she was rescued from historic flooding that overwhelmed Terrace Drive.

RELATED: Resources and how to help those affected by St. Louis area flooding

“The fire department came to help us but they couldn’t come down the street because the water was too deep. So they had to get new transportation which was a great big city truck to come and get us out, that was above the water,” Dae said.

Her daughter, Angela Harlan said it’s heartbreaking to see her neighbors go through this again and again.

“My mother lost practically everything in that home; memories, her belongings, everything. However, the biggest part of it is that we have my mother here,” Harlan said.

The City of East St. Louis and the East Side Health District asked residents to evacuate the mary terrace neighborhood due to health concerns. 

In response, the Red Cross opened a shelter where people can get help and the East St Louis Fire Department was called in to hose off the streets.

“Flooding is always challenging because you have mold issues, a lot of things you don’t necessarily see when you first look at it and so that’s the difficulty of a flood. So we’re not necessarily seeing what we would normally see with a long enduring flood because the water has already gone down but the damage is still there behind the scenes,” Sharon Watson with the American Red Cross said.

Dae said it’s been very hard to get back on her feet. She said she can’t go anywhere or do anything because her car was totaled.

“We tried to get a rental car but because of the devastation in this area in Missouri and Illinois they have no rental cars,” Dae said.

The family and other neighbors said the city needs to do more to fix the flooding problems.

“It’s just been an ongoing process that we go through two or three times a year but this time is worse,” Dae said.

Mayor Robert Eastern III said unfortunately the water pumping station wasn’t working, making the situation worse, and now they’re trying to do what they can.

“As we’ve been trying to work through these issues, you know nature doesn’t wait and so it’s still it’s not acceptable. And the city, we have to hold that tow line and say residents we're going to do better,” Eastern said.

Here are some resources for East St. Louis residents: 

Food, Clothes and toiletries can be picked up or dropped off at Community Lifeline Center, located at 1764 State St. in East St. Louis.

To report flood damage in East St. Louis you can call 618-482-6620.

Cleaning supplies are available at Clyde Jordan Senior Center at 6755 State St. in East St. Louis.

If you need help with your pets, reach out to Gateway Pets, located at 725 N 15th St. in East St Louis.

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