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Federal help on the way for flood victims in St. Clair County, Illinois

"I am so glad that they're finally helping us," an East St. Louis resident said. "We really need it."

EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. — After a difficult two and a half months, Marcus Harris-Pride is glad to hear federal assistance for his flood ravaged home in East St. Louis is finally on the way.

"I'm very proud of the mayor of East St. Louis, Federal Emergency Management agency (FEMA) and everybody who made this happen for us...especially our senior citizens," Harris-Pride said.

Harris-Pride was brought to tears when he heard officials make the long-awaited announcement.

"I feel a big relief," he said. "Not just for me, but for my community." 

Record-breaking rain flooded his neighborhood, left cars submerged and caused extensive damage to his home in the 700 block of Terrace Drive on July 26.

"Just to look around and see my neighbors and all just going through this, that's a hurtful feeling man," said the homeowner.

More than 700 St. Clair County families' homes were damaged or destroyed by a record 9 inches of rainfall. 

On Monday, the White House announced a formal disaster declaration to help East St. Louis and other cities hit hard by the devastating floods.

Starting on Tuesday, flood victims may apply for federal relief grants.

"These are grants, not loans...for damages to homes, vehicles and personal property," Alicia Tate-Nadeau, with the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA), said.  They can also look for temporary housing and emergency home repairs."

After Monday's news conference, flood victims left East St. Louis feeling a lot better now that they have several ways that they can apply for the federal aid.

"We need more drywall. We need more insulation and other things for our homes. My home on Mary Street was heavily flooded and I'm still not home yet. I'm really glad that FEMA came through," said Maranita Sanders.

"I feel much better now," Harris-Pride said.

People affected by the relentless, summer floods may register for federal assistance by going to disasterassistance.gov or call 1-800-621-3362 (FEMA).

You can also register in-person at one of the disaster relief centers in St. Louis.

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