Lots of sleepless nights for residents, flood recovery workers

Aug 22, 2014

More than a week after massive flooding ravaged parts of metro Detroit, emergency  crews and residents are still working around the clock, clearing roads and cleaning up flooded basements. 

Like residents in several cities, many Detroiters are still waiting for flood-damaged items to be picked up by trash haulers.
Like residents in several cities, many Detroiters are still waiting for flood-damaged items to be picked up by trash haulers.
Credit Michigan Radio

Gov. Rick Snyder says he's asking the Federal Emergency Management Agency to do a preliminary damage assessment. That's the first step to potentially getting major federal disaster aid.   

Meanwhile, suburbs like St. Clair Shores are just now digging out from all the leftover trash and debris. Doug Haag is the city's financial director.  

"Our trash haulers have been running pretty much nonstop," he says. "I think they're pretty caught up. But just getting rid of the trash, unfortunately that garbage represents people's personal belongings, their lives, their memories, things like that." 

Right now his focus is on people who may be the most vulnerable: senior citizens, people who have disabilities, or those who may be cut off from help.   

"The devastation has just been horrific. We have a large segment of the city that's elderly or on fixed incomes and things like that. And a number of situations where people just didn't have anybody to help them," says Haag. 

He says one resident had to go to a friend's house in Warren to call for help, because he couldn't afford a phone in his own home.  Those folks are the ones that are hardest to follow up with, says Haag. So city workers have been going to homes where people may not have a phone or web connection.  

The State of Michigan Resource Coordination Center also wants senior citizens and people with physical challenges to apply through them to get additional recovery help. 

Speaking of aid, Mennonite and Amish workers who volunteer to clean up homes after disasters are working through a list of seniors, provided to them from the Detroit Area Agency on Aging.