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Southside residents considering legal action after flooding

Two weeks after a flash flood left 150 homes damaged in the south side of St. Joseph, residents are weighing their options moving forward.

Posted: Aug 3, 2020 10:02 AM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Two weeks since the devastating southside flood, those affected said they still haven't seen anyone take responsibility and are considering legal options. as they explore those options though, county officials say there is a way at least some people could see some relief.

It's the question victims have been asking since day one.

“Who’s going to rebuild us,” flood victim Gabe Sosa said.

Now, two weeks after the flood, victims say they still don't have much of an answer and they shared their frustrations with city and county officials who say they're doing their best to help.

“People are here to help them and they just need to understand that we’re here to help them and that that’s what our purpose is to help them as much as we can,” Buchanan County Emergency Manager Bill Brinton said.

Flood victims say they're still not satisfied with the response to the disaster.

“It’s not coming fast enough, and then the governor is not stepping up, the mayor’s not stepping up,” Sosa said. “I mean you’ve got city officials here trying to help but they’re not answering their questions that these people are asking.”

Fed up with the lackluster response, victims have considered legal action. They met with an attorney, but he cautions against moving forward without substantial evidence.

“If there’s going to be any legal action at all, it can’t be off of rumors it’s got to be off facts,” attorney Jayson Watkins said. “These people have been greatly affected by this tragedy so they’re angry and rightfully so.”

While victims fight for answers, there may be some light at the end of the tunnel, at least for some.

The county's emergency manager says some victims may be eligible for a loan through the small business association.

“We’re going to be going house to house and doing some inspections and seeing if we can find 25 people that want to apply for a small business association loan and then it will be forwarded up to the state emergency management agency and they'll forward it to the SBA and if they want to then they’ll come in to see if they can loan these people money.”

Though it will likely be a welcomed help, what residents really want to see is someone to take responsibility.

“Who’s rebuilding us, we’re having no answers to that and that’s what’s frustrating to these people,” Sosa said. “They’re paying their mortgages just like me and they have no rebuild money, so what do you do? Your hands are tied.”

The county's emergency manager says he will be going door to door in the flood zone starting Tuesday inspecting homes to see if some will qualify for that assistance through the SBA.

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