City Refuses to Help Flood Victims
COLUMBIA - Heavy rains have left many Columbia homes damaged. Two families have reported thousands of dollars of loss-yet no help from the city.
Ann Ojey lives on Pearl Avenue in Columbia, in a home that is below ground level. That, however, is not what she believes caused her home to flood last July. She blames it on a storm drain in her backyard that, she says, the city has not properly taken care of. When Ojey came home the day of the flood, she said she was wading in water. She immediately ran to wake up her fiance and fourteen month old daughter who was sleeping on the floor.
One block away lives Gina Newman, a woman with similar damage to her home, and a similar story. Newman came home to water almost to her knees, and a car that was about to float down the driveway. The city renovated a storm drain a block away from Newman's home over the summer, but not the one right in front of her house. Her landlord says this is what caused her home to flood. When heavy rains came, the water came gushing down from the newly renovated drain into the one in front of Newman's home. That old drain could not handle the water, which caused the ditch it was in to overflow, which caused the surrounding houses to flood.
Both Ojeh and Newman sent reports to the city asking for money to help cover the damage, but they say the city refuses to help. The City of Columbia's Steve Hunt says the city has to prioritize what areas they can renovate due to lack of funding. To Newman, that sounds like neglect to areas with less money. Ojey says she is upset because the city is calling the floods "an act of God" and therefore out of their responsibility.
As of October 27th, these families have still not heard from the city.