Friday, June 20, 2008

On the Midwest Floods
"They all told us, `The levees are good...' "

From the AP on AOL: Midwest Flood Victims Feel Misled.

Same story, different headline in Idaho:
Flooded-out homeowners in the Midwest say FEMA gave them a false sense of security

Juli Parks didn't worry when water began creeping up the levee that shields this town of about 750 from the Mississippi River - not even when volunteers began piling on sandbags.

After all, local officials had assured townspeople in 1999 that the levee was sturdy enough to withstand a historic flood, and FEMA had agreed. In fact, some relieved homeowners dropped their flood insurance, and others applied for permits to build new houses and businesses.


"They all told us, `The levees are good. You can go ahead and build,"' said Parks, who did not buy flood coverage because her bank no longer required it. "We had so much confidence in those levees."
I feel for these people. I really, really do. This is so much bigger than the New Orleans flood. New Orleans was (mostly) flooded by a lake - 15 feet and then done. Rivers never stop. I will help in the only way I can, if I can, by donating to the Red Cross. But I have to ask:
Where the hell have you people been? Did you not pay any attention 3 years ago? Since? Maybe you should have.

Blame this on FEMA and the Corps of Engineers and the Federal Government (not just Bush). It's justified. Their levees leave a lot to be desired. But levee or no, you should have had insurance. Flood insurance is the cheapest protection you'll ever buy. Unless you live on a mountain or in the desert, you should have it. After all that happened down here, putting your faith in the CoE is just stupid.

I wonder how many of you have said in the last three years anything to the effect of "Why can't those people in Louisiana get it together?" "Why are they taking my money to rebuild?" "It's just going to happen again." "People shouldn't live there." Wait till everyone starts saying it about you.

Wait till you have to deal with the tragic bureaucratic disaster that is FEMA. Hope you like formaldehyde. And I wonder how many people are going to defraud the government this time around. I'll be sure to be just as shocked and angry as you were. For those that did have insurance, wait till your insurance companies try to screw you over, falsify engineering reports, try to trick you into giving up your coverage. And in the end, watch as the money you were promised, the help you desperately need, just sits and sits and sits in Washington and then is frittered away in "overhead" by the people who are supposed to be helping you.

I guess then you'll understand. But "they" still won't.
Maybe people will pay attention this time. If the majority of the country had actually cared about New Orleans for more than a few news cycles, this might have been prevented or at least mitigated.

Like I said, I feel for these people. My heart breaks for them. We know exactly what they're feeling now and we know what they face on the horrible road ahead. If I sound bitter, though, it's because I am.

Everyone needs to pay attention. For a long time. Until it's fixed.

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