ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — St. Louis County leaders stood united in a shopping center parking lot on Friday that was recently unrecognizable following the historic floods that overwhelmed the region earlier this week.
District mayors, council members, and emergency management personnel addressed the massive damage the disaster caused and what had already been done to help people with cleanup efforts.
Florissant Mayor Tim Lowery told local media that St. Louis County’s emergency management team moved quickly to begin recovery efforts.
He added that local emergency managers had been on the ground Thursday and Friday evaluating the damage, and anticipated FEMA to arrive sometime next week.
State leaders have requested an expedition for their request for a federal emergency declaration in order for disaster funds to open up for residents and businesses impacted by the storms.
“A lot of these people don't have a lot of means so we need to get them as much help as we can and that's why we are here today to let them know that as the mayors of North St. Louis County we are here for them as we are going to do everything we can to get them help," Lowery said.
Fans blew to dry up the soaked carpet at I-Deal Furniture across from where the conference was held at Florissant Meadows Shopping Center
"A lot of tears and sweat into this place. I didn't have much money. I bought 10 mattresses you know started selling one buying two," said Nadar Qasem, owner.
Qasem's dream was drenched by heavy flooding that pushed through North St. Louis County this week.
The husband and father told 5 On Your Side that $185,000 were already down the drain between the furniture on the showroom floor and in storage and they also had to refund their layaways and pending pickup and delivery orders.
“I'm really not sure what's going to happen next if we're going to be able to open again or not I don't know," Qasem added.
Just doors down, insurance agent Felicia Miller stepped up to help people like Qasem who don't know what to do or where to turn.
“They are ultimately the ones that are struggling. My home didn't get damaged but my business their homes got damaged," Miller said.
While she also cleared out her damaged store, she still educated clients through calls.
"I know sometimes they think, 'Oh I can't afford that.' Sometimes we can we just think it's not going to be necessary but we have to sit down with our agent on an annual basis and make sure we're having that conversation about what our limits are, what that looks like" Miller continued.
County leaders also pleaded for patience and for the public to do its part.
Individuals are asked to call 211 to have damage tracked if they suffered losses in their home or business.
Local emergency managers will relay records to FEMA who will then asses and open the door for disaster funding.
A town hall meeting for residents and businesses to ask questions at the JFK Center in Florissant on Wednesday at 6 p.m.