After Summer of Floods, Detroit Still Trying to Clean Up

entrance and staircase of the House invaded by mud 1
More than three months after being hit with torrential rains and floods, the city of Detroit is still struggling to clean up and return to its former state.

According to a November 17 Michigan Radio article, organizations like AmeriCorps are working to help residents clear out their waterlogged basements, getting rid of rotting wood, mildew and black mold — which can pose a major threat to human health.

“I didn’t realize I still had water in the basement until three weeks ago when I called to get the furnace going because it started getting cold. And, he told me there was still six inches of water in the basement,” Duane Van Geison, a 74-year-old Detroit resident, told Michigan Radio. “(AmeriCorps) came and pumped out the water last week and then they started cleaning out Monday, cleaning out all the damaged material, which I have plenty of.”

Van Geison’s situation is hardly unique. AmeriCorps has already cleaned up 120 homes that had been flooded, and 400 more homes await aid, according to Michigan Radio. With only 35 volunteers from the organization working in the area, the work will continue to go slowly.

“Prevention really is the key here. Stopping the problem before it becomes an issue can easily prevent a family from having to pay thousands of dollars in home damages. Once your basement floods, that’s it. You’re going to need mold remediation and maybe even complete renovations in order to recover from a basement flood,” explains Austin Werner, Owner of The Real Seal, LLC.

According to Sara Ann Levine, a member of AmeriCorps St. Louis’s Emergency Response Team who is coordinating the clean-up effort in Detroit, finding volunteers has become difficult because media coverage of the floods ended months ago.

“When there’s not that big publicity push, we don’t get a lot of volunteers that come out, and most of the time on disasters the clean-up is really driven by volunteers,” Levine told Michigan Radio.

It may be a slow recovery for a city plagued with numerous problems in recent years, but it’s necessary to make sure residents’ basements are moisture-free.

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