Living along the lower reaches of the Mississippi River comes with challenges. The land is quite low, even many miles north of the delta, and flooding from heavy rains poses potential disaster. Baton Rouge, Louisiana, faced such a disaster with serious flooding this summer. The devastation is still affecting the region.
The rains began on August 10th with flooding starting by the 12th. The storm lasted through the 17th. All told, the region had nearly three times more rain than had fallen during Hurricane Katrina. The flooding left many stranded in their homes or vehicles. Authorities helped evacuate 30,000 people. The flooding left 13 dead and approximately 130,000 homes damaged or destroyed entirely. Over 100,000 people have file for federal aid. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has already approved spending over $205 million in aid. This help includes assisting with temporary rental spaces and shelters, paying the costs for home repairs, providing drinking water and meals, and covering insurance claims through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
President Obama visited the region August 23rd to tour the damage and speak to the people most affected. The president reassured them, saying, “Sometimes when these kinds of things happen, it can seem a little bit too much to bear. But what I want the people of Louisiana to know is that you’re not alone on this. Even after the TV cameras leave, the whole country is going to continue to support you and help you until we get folks back in their homes and lives are rebuilt.” Many praised FEMA’s quick action as compared to the government’s slow response during the devastation from Hurricane Katrina. However, others have criticized his late arrival to the region.
Things to Think About
Look at the provided physical map of Louisiana. What do you notice about the elevation? What bodies of water are in the area? How does the geography of the region contribute to the likelihood of flooding?