Brandon Johnson

Chicago to seek disaster relief after thousands of basements flood over weekend

Some parts of the city of Chicago saw nine or more inches of rain fall over the weekend, and after thousands of residents were left dealing with basement flooding, officials are seeking state disaster relief.

Mayor Brandon Johnson, who toured damaged homes on the city’s West Side Monday, called Sunday’s storms “unprecedented,” and pledged to help residents recover.

“It’s devastating,” he said. “The full force of government will be available. Being out here today is a reminder of how important it is that we stand shoulder-to-shoulder to deal with this loss.”

Johnson’s chief of staff Rich Guidice said that the city’s 311 system received more than 2,000 calls Sunday for basement flooding and another 500 for street flooding. He said data is still being tabulated, saying that the city’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications is working to assess the situation.

“(We are) working with the state to make sure get dollars that could come our way,” he said.

Ald. Emma Mitts, who toured the West Side with Johnson, said that her basement had more than three feet of water, and echoed the mayor’s concerns about the need for disaster relief.

For the remainder of this week, crews with the Department of Streets and Sanitation will haul away damaged furniture and carpets as city residents begin to clean up.

In addition to disaster relief funding, Johnson also called for additional funds for flood prevention, saying that climate change will only cause more severe weather events in years to come.

“Clearly the Earth is speaking to us loud and clear, where extreme weather is taking place all over the country,” he said. “Unfortunately because of some of the failed policies that have left our environment vulnerable, this is not likely the last extreme example of weather.”

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