Their Stories

We've told the stories of some of the Flood Resilience Groups we work with:


Missouri: 'Citizens' committee for flood relief', in the city of de soto

Susan Liley set up the Citizens' Committee for Flood Relief after watching her neighbors suffer repeated flooding. Together with Paula Arbuthnot, a local engineer, they've managed to get the attention and support of various government agencies and legislators.


illinois: 'FloodLothian Midlothian', in the Chicago suburbs

What makes a successful flood advocacy group? Helen Lekavich launched Floodlothian Five in 2013 after severe flooding affected homes in the Village of Midlothian, Illinois. They tell their story.


missouri: 'citizens for flood prevention', sunset hills and fenton, MO

Emilie Hayes and her family lost their home to flooding in December 2015. They are still in rented accommodation. Emilie now advocates on behalf of flood survivors in the south west suburbs of St Louis, MO (Sunset Hills and Fenton.) This video is being shared to help raise awareness of the impacts of flooding on residents and need for action.



TeXas: 'Residents Against Flooding' in houston

Flood survivors, Dean and Charmaine Bixler share their story of flooding in 2015 and 2016 and talk about the Flood Resilience Group, 'Residents Against Flooding'. 

This video was made just weeks before Hurricane Harvey hit Houston in August 2017 and had such a devastating affect on city residents and businesses.

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Louisiana: acadiana flood message board

Shannon Cooper lost her home in the flooding in Louisiana on August 2016. During this time, she coordinated donations to other families made homeless, working alongside members of the flood group, 'Acadiana Flood Message Board.' More recently, the group has supported people made homeless as a result of Hurricane Harvey in August 2017.


The following three stories were written by Olivia Bobrowsky on behalf of Flood Forum USA and were published in the Huffington Post. 

Illinois: 'Residents Push For Flood Relief'

PHOTO BY KENDRA SCUDDER THOMPSON. Elmhurst, IL “Stop Elmhurst Flooding Now”

PHOTO BY KENDRA SCUDDER THOMPSON. Elmhurst, IL “Stop Elmhurst Flooding Now”

1,000+ Illinoisans formed a grassroots group to support flood victims and lobby their local government.

It was July 2010, and 100,000 gallons of water had poured into Kathleen Sullivan’s basement. 

Sullivan, a lifelong resident of Elmhurst, Ill., had seen flooding before. The first time was 1987, when a 100-year storm dumped over 9 inches of rain on Elmhurst and overflowed a nearby creek. The city and county governments responded with a flurry of flood control efforts – they built a quarry and a new reservoir system – and a period of drought followed. But then 2008 and 2009 brought a handful of storms, and with them, five minor floods to Sullivan’s street. Then came 2010. 


West Virginia: 'Flood Victim Reflects On Storm Aftermath, Effort to Help Neighbors'

On June 24, 2016, a huge storm swamped the town of White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. The flood claimed more than 20 lives, left thousands without homes, and shuttered the main employer in town – the historic Greenbrier Resort – for several weeks. 

Tyler Hagemo, a caddy and skating instructor at the resort, was at the Greenbrier’s golf course the day of the flood. 

PHOTO COURTESY OF TYLER HAGEMO Debris after a flood in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.

PHOTO COURTESY OF TYLER HAGEMO

Debris after a flood in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.


texas: 'Sick Of Chronic Flooding, Houston Residents Search For Solutions'

PHOTO BY DEAN BIXLER. The flooded home of Houston residents Dean and Charmain Bixler.

PHOTO BY DEAN BIXLER. The flooded home of Houston residents Dean and Charmain Bixler.

On Memorial Day 2015, a storm unleashed 12 inches of rain on Southwest Houston in 10 hours.

“Some of our dearest friends’ houses took in 2 or 3 feet of water overnight,” remembers Lydia Musher, a Houston homeowner and lecturer at Rice University. “Kayakers rescued children and pets. Families had to evacuate out of their kitchen windows. An elderly couple in the neighborhood died in the rescue process. It was a very traumatic time for the community.”

Then in April 2016, an even more damaging flood struck Houston. At least five people died, and more than a thousand high-water rescues took place across the city.