There Was a Plan to Save This City From Flooding. But When the Rains Came, So Did Hesitance.
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There Was a Plan to Save This City From Flooding. But When the Rains Came, So Did Hesitance.

Pro Publica |
September 6, 2018

The Army Corps of Engineers’ delay in activating a floodway — land designated to take on water — cost millions of dollars in damage to Cairo, Illinois, and surrounding communities in 2011.


In the last days of April 2011, the mayor of Cairo, Illinois, told residents to get out. A spring flood had grown out of control, and the low-lying city of 2,800 at the junction of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers was fighting for its life.

Water poured from the sky and bubbled up from the ground like miniature geysers. It leaked through the levee system, giant earthen and concrete walls built to protect the city from flooding, as hundreds pushed their bodies against sandbags to shore it up, including inmates from a nearby prison, residents who chose to ignore the evacuation order and even children. Emergency managers passed out life vests. If the levees fell, there would be nowhere to run from the wall of water.

The Army Corps of Engineers had a procedure, written into law, to spare Cairo this level of danger. But it kept delaying.

Credit by - Pro Publica

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