News / USA

Mississippi River Floods Threaten Homes, Farms, Refineries in Louisiana

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers personnel in an airboat in the Bonnet Carre Spillway, as workers remove some of the Bonnet Carre Spillway's wooden barriers, which serve as a dam against the high water in Norco, La., May 9, 2011
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers personnel in an airboat in the Bonnet Carre Spillway, as workers remove some of the Bonnet Carre Spillway's wooden barriers, which serve as a dam against the high water in Norco, La., May 9, 2011
Greg Flakus

As flood waters invade fields and homes along the Mississippi River in the states of Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi, officials farther south, in the state of Louisiana are preparing for the worst. Louisiana's governor is urging citizens to take action now.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is still studying a proposal to open floodgates at the Morganza spillway in an effort to protect the cities of Baton Rouge and New Orleans farther downstream.  But opening the floodgates would inundate farm fields, forest lands and some residences in the area.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal is asking people in the potential flood zone to start preparing now instead of waiting for a final decision by the Corps of Engineers.

“Act as if the Corps is going to open the spillway.  The best thing to do is to be prepared as if that decision is coming.  I do not want people waiting; I do not want them to hesitate about whether they need to make evacuation plans or move their valuables or build these levees,” he said.

The Morganza spillway is about 75 kilometers upriver from the Louisiana capital of Baton Rouge.  Last week, the U.S. Corps of Engineers blew up a section of a levee in Missouri to protect river towns in Kentucky and Illinois, but flooding 52,000 hectares of farmland as a result.

Monday, the Corps opened the Bonne Carre spillway near New Orleans for the first time since 2008.  But the level of the Mississippi River is setting records upriver in places like Vicksburg and Natchez, Mississippi, where low-lying residential areas are being flooded.

But experts say the situation would have been far worse if it had not been for the levees, spillways and other controls that have been built along the river since the devastating flood of 1927 that killed more than 1,000 people and flooded large areas of the south, especially in Louisiana.

The other concern for officials monitoring the river crest is the presence of 11 oil refineries along the lower Mississippi that process about two and a half million barrels a day and supply about 13 percent of the gasoline used by motorists in the United States.

At least two of those refineries could be shut down temporarily by flooding.  Experts say if the shutdowns are short, a week or two, the effect will be moderate, but if they are shut down for many weeks there could be a prolonged rise in fuel prices.  U.S. motorists are already complaining about gasoline prices, now at the highest level since the oil price spike of 2008.

The flooding along the Mississippi and its tributaries is considered the worst in 80 years.  The cause of the flooding is snow melt and heavy rains in the northern part of the United States.  Meantime, southern plains states like Texas and Oklahoma are experiencing severe drought and high winds that have caused raging wildfires.  There has also been a record number of tornadoes along a path from Texas to Georgia that have killed more than 200 people in six states this year.

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid