News / USA

Parts of Southern US Brace for Massive Flooding

An aerial view of the areas along the levee that are topping over in Lake Providence , Louisiana, May 12, 2011
An aerial view of the areas along the levee that are topping over in Lake Providence , Louisiana, May 12, 2011

Multimedia

U.S. authorities are preparing to open a massive spillway in the southern state of Louisiana to divert Mississippi River floods away from the population centers of New Orleans and Baton Rouge.

The 32-kilometer-long Morganza Spillway would divert a portion of the severely flooded Mississippi River away from Louisiana's two big cities, but create huge new floods in a more rural part of the state.  Governor Bobby Jindal says the Army Corps of Engineers expects that opening the channel would affect 25,000 people, most of them living in areas adjacent to the spillway likely to become flooded.

U.S. officials say the Louisiana floods could cover up to 1.2 million hectares, much of it rich farmland, with at least 150 centimeters of water, and possibly as much as six meters.

Flood of the century

The rising waters, now known in parts of the American south as the "flood of the century," already have caused vast damage upstream to homes, crops and businesses. The U.S. insurance industry says that seasonal natural disasters this year - both the flooding and last month's devastating tornadoes - have already cost $5 billion in damages.

Jindal says his state will do everything it can to protect people and property in the flood zone.

In the adjacent state of Mississippi, rising waters are threatening to swamp ponds used for catfish farming, a $200 million-a-year industry, and inundate cotton fields.  

Spillway opening


For the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the decision on whether to open the Morganza Spillway is one of choosing which part of the state will flood - the heavily populated cities of Baton Rouge and New Orleans, or rich farmlands elsewhere in the state.  The Morganza Spillway, a channel that can divert Mississippi water to another river system, has been used only once before, in 1973.  

New Orleans is still recovering from devastation it sustained from Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Many sections of the city have not been rebuilt, and thousands of its residents who left have not returned.  

The Red Cross says it has ample shelters to accommodate residents displaced by the flooding. They could be out of their homes for several weeks until the water recedes.

Obama visit


President Barack Obama has set a visit to the flood zone on Monday.  He will tour Tennessee's largest city, Memphis, where the Mississippi River crested at near record levels earlier this week.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

You May Like

Reports of Mass Murder on Mediterranean Smuggler’s Boat

Boat sailed from Libya with 750 migrants aboard and arrived in Italy with 569 More

Video New Thailand Hotline Targets Misbehaving Monks

Officials say move aims to restore country’s image of Buddhism, tarnished by recent high profile scandals such as opulent lifestyle, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as child sex abuse More

Study: Dust from Sahara Helped Form Bahama Islands

What does the Sahara have in common with a Caribbean island? Quite a lot, researchers say 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.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
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.

AppleAndroid