News / USA

Southern US Cities Brace for Historic Flooding

Sherry Rose measures the water level in her home as floodwaters slowly rise in Holly Grove, Arkansas, May 10, 2011
Sherry Rose measures the water level in her home as floodwaters slowly rise in Holly Grove, Arkansas, May 10, 2011

Multimedia

Jeff Swicord

The Mississippi River, which runs through the center of the United States and south to New Orleans, is flooding at near record levels.  Both large cities and small towns along its banks are struggling to control a torrent of water from spring rain and runoff.  In the small town of  Vicksburg, Mississippi, some residents are preparing to evacuate.

In the Kings community of North Vicksburg, Mississippi, friends and relatives are helping Joann Parks pack up her worldly possessions.  The flood waters in the area have risen a half meter in the last 24 hours.  And there is fear they could reach her house within the next week.

“This is one of the higher areas in the Kings community.  And like myself and a lot of others, we have homeowners insurance, but we don't have flood insurance because we have never been required to have it because it is not a flood area," said flood victim Joann Parks.


Vicksburg is an old river town where the waters of the mighty Mississippi and Yazoo Rivers meet.  Known for its American Civil War history, it is a tourist town.  

But heavy spring runoff and higher than average rainfall, hundreds of kilometers up river, have sent a torrent of water south, creating record flooding in five states.  

In Vicksburg, the waters are currently 16 meters above flood stage, and will crest at 17.5 meters some time next week.  Seventy-year-old Winston Holman has lived here all his life. “I have never seen the river as high as it is right now.  And I hope I never see it get this high again.  Because, it is hurting a lot of folks around here and a lot of businesses," he said.

The flooding is primarily in an industrial area south of downtown and in residential areas like the Kings community.  Officials estimate the waters will flood 1,000 homes in the area.

Sixty-year-old Pop McDonald's house already has a meter of water in it.  This is the second time he has been flooded out, but he says he will return when the waters recede. “I'm looking at least a couple of months.  You now see how much damage it did, and how much repairs I got to have on it," he said.

Today is Joann Park's 61st birthday.  She has lived in this house since she was 14 years old. This is the first time she has had to leave.  There are many memories she holds dear, and deciding what to leave behind is painful. “It is just a lot of things that have got to go.  Some of the things have got to go, some of the thing I don't know where we are going to store it.  It's just hard, I know there is a lot of things we are not going to be able to save," he said.

Her brother has been helping to load a large moving truck loaned to her by a friend.  Leaving is hard.  But staying has not been easy either.  “We have nightmares going to bed at night not knowing whether the water done traveled and it is in the yard or something," she said.

Joann says she will be out of this house within a few days, and doesn't know if she will return. She told us the one good thing from this experience is it has brought her closer to family and friends.  She  and her daughter will live with her best friend for a while, and wait for the floodwaters to rise and fall.

You May Like

Captured IS Militants Explain Why They Fought

Fighters from Turkey, Syria tell VOA Kurdish Service what drew them to extremism, jihad More

Security Experts Split on Kenyan Barrier Wall

Experts divided on whether initiative aiming to keep out al-Shabab militants is long-awaited solution or misguided effort More

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Officials say they hope to turn Manila into the next Macau, which has long been Asia’s gambling hub 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More