News / USA

    Vicksburg Businesses Band Together to Fight Floodwater

    Workers push to quickly complete a makeshift levee by packing dirt on top of an old railroad bed in the Green Meadow neighborhood of South Vicksburg, Mississippi, May 2011
    Workers push to quickly complete a makeshift levee by packing dirt on top of an old railroad bed in the Green Meadow neighborhood of South Vicksburg, Mississippi, May 2011

    Multimedia

    Jeff Swicord

    As flooding continues along the Mississippi River, happy outcomes are hard to come by. There is one neighborhood in the South Vicksburg area of Mississippi, though, where five small businesses have joined forces and devised a plan to build their own levee. With a little ingenuity and determined spirit, they are fortifying an old raised railroad track along the river, hoping to keep the water out of their property and hundreds of homes in the surrounding area.

    In the Green Meadow neighborhood of South Vicksburg, the race is on against the rising water. Workers are rushing to complete a makeshift levee by packing dirt on top of an old railroad bed.

    Authorities are expecting nearly four centimeters of rain to fall here within the next few days. Officials want to make sure the levee can hold back the additional water. Carl Harris is with the city of Vicksburg.

    “If you look over the side the water is right here so, we are trying to beat the water and the deadline,” said Harris.

    Floodwater has threatened more than 200 homes in two neighborhoods and a cluster of businesses along Interstate 61.

    Morgan Spivey, shop foreman at a local company - Energy Services International - told VOA the initial flood estimates would have left them pretty dry. But when revised estimates were made, the company became alarmed.

    “Well we knew the water was coming up," said Spivey. "We had our first crest stage at 53.5 [feet], which wouldn't affect us real bad. We would have some water in our loading dock in the back. And then three days later, they increased the crest level to 57.5. [17.5 meters].”

    That would put one meter of water in the machine shop. So Spivey went to his boss, Clay Currie, with a plan that would save their business and two neighborhoods in the area.

    "We have a natural railroad track behind the office," said Currie. "Went back and looked and saw how we could utilize that. And got with some other companies here locally on the south side of Vicksburg and made a plan to do what we could.”

    At first, the city of Vicksburg, which owns the railroad tracks, was not very supportive of building the levee. So, the five local businesses began the project with their own money.

    “We kicked the process off privately," said Currie. "A couple of local TV stations interviewed us, and some of the guys from the other companies that were working down there, and that kind of made it known that we weren't getting the assistance that we had hoped for.”

    The city of Vicksburg quickly changed its mind. Spivey said that was the plan all along.

    “We were really dependent on the city and the county to step in," he said. "Once they did step in, they took the job over and got a lot of the headache off of us.”

    "So, at 57.5 [feet], this is where we expect the water level to reach," said Spivey. "If the levee system fails.”

    Residents like Joe Pettway in the Green Meadow neighborhood are thrilled. He said they would have had half a meter of water in the house without the plan. But as a precaution, they will still be moving some of the essentials out.

    "My mom is 86 and my brother is 54, but he's not in very good health," said Pettway. "So we feel like we need to move the majority of the appliances and bedroom furniture and that kind of stuff and just have a makeshift home, if you will, until the water recedes or starts receding."

    But the city predicts a positive outcome for the neighborhood. And the Army Corps of Engineers is confident the levee will hold.

    The project will be completed in the coming days, in plenty of time for the expected crest on the 19th.

    You May Like

    Vietnam Urges US to Lift Lethal Weapons Ban Amid S. China Sea Tensions

    US president’s upcoming visit to Vietnam underscores strength of relationship, and lifting embargo would reflect that trust, ambassador says

    Are US Schools Turning a Blind Eye to Radical Qatari Preachers?

    Parade of radical Islamist clerics using mosque at Qatar’s Education City draws mounting criticism for American universities that maintain satellite branches there

    Why Islamic State Is Down But Not Out

    Despite loss of territory, group’s ferocious attacks over past three months seen as testimony to its continued durability and resourcefulness

    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.
    Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroadi
    X
    May 02, 2016 1:36 PM
    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora