Filed Under:  Opinion

Rain, rain please go away in certain areas of the country

23rd May 2011   ·   0 Comments

Dr. E. Faye Williams, Esq. Columnist

Growing up in Louisiana, I became accustomed to periodic heavy rains and sometimes even floods; but they were nothing approaching what we see happening now in certain areas of the country. When it rained a lot and the water spilled over into our yard, we called it “high water.”

Even though the high water caused us to see a few snakes and other unusual critters at times, the water came up to our porch, but never into our home. Of course, our homes were usually built high off the ground. Even though we heard elderly people mention the “Great Flood” that happened in 1927, we never felt that we were in danger of losing our home because of the high water level. We just had a few days of inconvenience waiting for the water to recede. We always believed it would come to a certain point and no higher.

What we are seeing in Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas and other states now is a lot more than just an inconvenience. We are seeing one tragedy after another. Whole communities are losing their homes to which many will never be able to return.

With all the technology we have now compared with what was available in 1927, the thought crosses my mind that if what we are hearing today, this could be worse than anything that ever happened. The Great Flood of 1927 has been called the greatest natural disaster ever to occur in the United States. Even though many other states are affected by the current floods, and many more are projected to be severely affected in the coming days, much of the worst of the 1927 flood took place in Mississippi. Like Louisiana and Florida, Mississippi has not fully recovered from previous weather-related challenges of the past few years or the Gulf oil spill. If, as is predicted, the current flood goes beyond all of that, I can only imagine the fear of anyone who is still living and whose memory takes them back to 1927.

With many of the cotton, rice, corn and other crops being wiped out, many farmers must live in great fear because those who should be planting crops now cannot. Many farmers who should be harvesting crops now are unable to do so. I am sure the “Great Flood” of 1927 did not affect people in Africa, Asia, Europe and other places around the world because we were not into a global economy then. Now we are, and many nations depend upon our country for food basics just as we do. In addition to housing challenges from the recent tornadoes where homes were destroyed, we may be looking at a critical food shortage not only in our country, but abroad as well. If this crisis is not handled wisely, we could be facing food riots such as the world has never known!

Many lives will be changed because of the floods. Precious memorabilia will be lost. Some people will decide to move away and forced to start over in unfamiliar places. The already underserved will be hit hardest because many of them will have no place to go, and no resources to start over where they are. Many neighbors who were once kind enough to help others, have themselves lost all they had and are in need of help, too. We can be sure that people directly affected by these floods will have significant immediate needs, and those of us who are blessed not to be directly impacted must rise to the challenge.

This article was originally published in the May 23, 2011 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper

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