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July floods damaged 700 homes in East St. Louis, beyond. Many still need help to rebuild

FEMA is touring flood-damaged East St. Louis, and other St. Clair, Illinois neighborhoods that had millions in damages from July 2022 floods. Their research will decide if the area is declared a federal disaster.
Derik Holtmann
Belleville News-Democrat
FEMA is touring flood-damaged East St. Louis, and other St. Clair, Illinois neighborhoods that had millions in damages from July 2022 floods. Their research will decide if the area is declared a federal disaster.

Editor's note: This story was originally published in the Belleville News-Democrat.

Two months after mass flooding disrupted communities across the St. Louis metro, about 20 to 23 East St. Louis families are still displaced from their homes, according to local United Way officials.

At least two people died in the natural disaster, and more than 200 people requested damage assessments from the United Way of Greater St. Louis within 24 hours of when flooding began July 26, the organization’s chief impact officer Regina Greer told the News-Democrat.

Flooding affected an estimated 700 homes to some extent regionwide, Greer said, and residents filed more than 14,000 requests in the first four weeks after the flood.

“We know that particularly on the Illinois side there were about 11 communities affected overall, but most of the heart of the crisis or the impact hit East St. Louis and I believe Cahokia Heights, even though we know that there have been reported damages in Belleville and Fairview, Caseyfield, Dupo, Mascoutah and other places,” Greer said.

The immediate emergency response focused on short-term housing solutions, food and water resources and financial assistance, but current essentials revolve around home recovery.

“Now those needs have changed into drywall, you know, replacement of bedding and furniture, things that were totally damaged in the flooding,” Greer said. “And it’s also dependent on the degree of flooding they had, if they had a little water in their basement, if they had a lot or those who had water up to six feet in their living rooms. So the degree and the expanse can vary.”

Flood response efforts are ongoing at this time, Greer said, and mold remediation is one of the most important tasks at hand as infestations can cause serious issues.

“The number of people that were displaced, the number that I received was around 20, 23 families,” Greer said. “So I do believe that most people are in their homes, this is really about assessing where they are and any remaining cleanup needs that they may have, because of course you don’t want mold to set up or anything like that, which could have a long-term impact.”

The local United Way handled 2,922 calls and 2,344 disaster intake forms by the end of July 31, according to the organization’s website. Some asked for cleanup kits or help with debris removal, while others needed important items replaced.

For those who were affected by the disaster, Community Life Line has an online form where you can request flood relief items such as drywall sheets, household disinfectant, insulation, food, water, clothing and more.

You can reach the local United Way at 211, and more information about resources in Illinois and Missouri can be found online.

What Can You Do To Help St. Louis Area Residents? 

You can donate online to the United Way of Greater St. Louis’ flood fund or send a check with the note “July 2022 Flood Relief Fund” to United Way of Greater St. Louis, 910 N. 11th St., St. Louis, MO 63101.

Skilled volunteers such as contractors are the area’s primary need right now, Greer said, and you can search online for volunteer opportunities through the United Way’s local branch.

“Volunteers are often most valuable in the days, weeks, and months following the disaster,” the United Way of Greater St. Louis’ website says.

You can contact Katelind Hosie at 314-539-4266 or katelind.hosie@stl.unitedway.org with any local volunteering questions.

Community Life Line is accepting donations and volunteer applications online.

Please contact mhoward@bnd.com with any local flood relief services seeking donations or volunteers. This story may be updated.

Meredith Howard is a reporter with the Belleville News-Democrat, a news partner of St. Louis Public Radio.

Send questions and comments about this story to feedback@stlpublicradio.org.