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

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed 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.
Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fairi
X
Brian Padden
May 29, 2015 1:27 PM
With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs