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'I don’t know what to do': Senior citizen and disabled Detroiters still waiting for help cleaning up flood damage

Posted at 10:50 PM, Jul 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-03 22:50:21-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) — "Is anyone going to help us here? And how soon?” asked Jefferson Chalmers resident Donna Ramsey on June 26, just hours after three feet of backed up sewer water flooded her basement.

Sitting on her porch July 3, she’s still asking the same questions.

“When are we gonna get answers? Who is going to answer our questions and when? When are they going to do anything?”

Her street is still lined with trash. Cherished belongings that dozens of her neighbors have no choice but to throw out. Ramsey says some of her neighbors have flood insurance, but others like her do not.

As a senior citizen with COPD and asthma, she isn't able to physically do the work herself.

“I don’t know what to do," Ramsey said. "I really don't.”

Her daughter, who had back surgery and can't lift heavy items, says the basement is in bad shape.

"The basement stinks so bad," said Tonya Nash-Polan. "It’s just awful, really awful.”

On the west side of town, volunteers with the American Red Cross have been passing out cleaning buckets filled with supplies. They went door to door, helping Detroiters impacted by the flooding.

“They’ve come out and they’ve given us things to clean up the basement, clean up the smell, make it fresh,” said Detroit resident Ruby Ware.

Some volunteers who came from the west side of the state were surprised to see how bad the damage really is.

“A lot of folks don’t realize how much this affects people,” said volunteer Thomas Westgate.

As the cleanup continues, many residents are still left waiting and hoping some sort of relief comes soon.

“Our neighborhood, they’re all good people," Nash-Polan said. "To see their lives sitting on the curb, it’s just awful.”

City cleanup crews will have the day off Sunday but will be back out again on Monday. The city is also taking volunteers to help senior citizen and disabled residents cleanup their basements.

If interested, you can fill out a volunteer form here.