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Residents Clean Up After Heavy Rain Floods Homes in Howard Beach

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TWC News: Residents Clean Up After Heavy Rain Floods Homes in Howard Beach
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Parts of the city are still struggling to clean up from the city’s record rainfall. Among the areas hard hit, was Howard Beach. NY1’s Rocco Vertuccio filed the following report.

"We fixed the first floor to make it pretty,” said Howard Beach resident Tatiana Gonzales.

Now, Tatiana Gonzales and her family have a lot more fixing up to do.

They just moved into their Howard Beach home in February.

Many of their belongings, couches and the air conditioner were still in the basement when Wednesday's heavy rain flooded it. They lost a lot that can't be replaced.

"Books, photographs, all of that stuff, still in the basement,” she said. “And that's more valuable than the couches and everything else."

The city says about 2,700 homes like the Gonzales' were impacted by the flooding. By Thursday afternoon, many in Howard Beach had made a lot of progress cleaning their garages and basements after up to six feet of water poured in.

They salvaged what they could, everything else is waiting at the curb to be hauled away.

Red Cross volunteers helped out by donating cleaning supplies.

"We are really proud to be volunteers with the Red Cross and we just come to give a little bit that they are missing at the time,” said Lesvy Alonco, a Red Cross volunteer.

Several city agencies made their way to area: OEM to assess the damage and the DEP to drain what was left in the street.

"This is the third time in five years,” said Rick Quinones, a Howard Beach resident.

Quinones and others say the flooding is common during a heavy rain. They blame an outdated sewer system. Quinones had two pumps running in his garage during the rainfall and he still got flooded with

"The sewer system is very bad. That wasn't even a storm that was just rain, just rain, what am I supposed to do I don't really want to live here anymore,” he said.

Gonzales is trying to stay optimistic.

"I'm hoping that this is going to bring some sort of awareness and that they will attempt to at least remedy the situation one way or the other,” she said.

The DEP says it will re-examine the drainage system here but it believes a high tide and a new moon made it difficult for the water to drain properly.

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