Windsor flood victims issue plea for public help, including food, school supplies

People in south Walkerville are issuing a plea for help from the public after this week's floods in the Windsor, Ont., area.

Hundreds of people in south Walkerville have lost food, furniture, in flood and power outage

Help Wanted

5 years ago
Duration 1:29
People living at the Alix Sinkevitch Townhomes in south Walkerville are asking for help.

Tanya Windibank arrived home from the hospital earlier this week and found many of her personal belongings, including photos of her dead mother, floating in her basement.

"It's a disaster," she said, through tears, pointing to baby items and mattresses drying on her front lawn. "This is what I came home to."

Windibank is one of hundreds dealing with extreme flooding at the Alix Sinkevitch Townhomes in south Walkerville, a district of Windsor, Ont. Power was restored to the 70 townhouse units, including many that are social housing, on Thursday after it was cut off due to safety concerns on Tuesday.

Tanya Windibank walks through some her most valuable belongings that were ruined in this week's flood. (Chris Ensing/CBC)

People were offered hotel accommodations by the property manager Labour Sponsored Community Development Group. Warm meals and snacks were also donated from multiple community organizations. 

But now residents are struggling to clean up their damaged homes and replace items lost in the flooding. Many struggle to afford food and school supplies.

They issued a plea for help Friday as they sat surrounded by waterlogged school supplies and empty fridges after food rotted during the power outage.

"We need the community to come together to help us in any way that they can," said Windibank. "If it's just even to come out and offer a hand. "We're not asking for anything in particular, we're just asking for anyone to assist us."

Recovery underway

In Windibank's basement, her furnace, water tank, washer and dryer sat with their electrical cords cut.

Property management officials told CBC News they expect all furnaces and hot water tanks to be removed from tenants basements on Friday, with new water tanks arriving Wednesday. 

A few of the hundreds of residents at the Alix Sinkevitch Townhomes in south Walkerville talk about the damage in their area. (Chris Ensing/CBC)

Executive director Anna Angelidis said the company believes the units are habitable for people to stay in over the long weekend. "Half of the units have already been cleared and cleaned. We expect that — by the end of the day today — we will be able to remove all of the items out of their units."

Residents were notified Friday morning that the property management group's insurance will only cover structural damage, not a tenant's belongings. 

"Less than one third of the tenants have contents insurance, so they know the Labour Community Service Centre will not be able to cover their content," said Angelidis. 

Widespread damage

Stephanie Rabaey's kitchen is full of board games, Lego and bicycles belonging to her two young boys. She's trying to salvage what she can after Tuesday's flood. 

"We're panicking," said Rabaey, who hasn't been able to work this week as she tries to empty her flooded basement and keep track of all the things she needs for next week. 

"Milk, orange juice, some cream cheese for my son — we don't have anything," said Rabaey, as she rummaged through her fridge. 

On Tuesday, she and many other single mothers in this section of the city will be sending their kids to the first day of school without any supplies.

"We need everything, at this point," said Rabaey, when asked what people need to get back on their feet. "Everybody's got a story, everybody's struggling. We're all thinking about Tuesday morning, getting our kids back (to school)."

Angelidis said people can also donate gift certificates for food or school supplies, if they want to help. Anyone looking to contribute can drop by 3450 Ypres Ave., Saturday through Monday. The main office on the second floor will be open each of those days between 1-4 p.m.