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Ear to the Ground

Thousands Flee Floods in Midwest

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Posted on Jun 13, 2008
midwest flood
AP photo / Jeff Roberson

Waterlogged: A shot of downtown Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Friday.

Several Midwestern states, including Iowa, Michigan, Wisconsin and Illinois, have been hit hard by floods this week as rivers rose far beyond their normal levels. In Cedar Rivers, Iowa, a whole hospital had been evacuated, thousands of residents had fled their homes and over 400 city blocks were under water by Friday.

AP via

Cedar Rapids was the hardest-hit city in Iowa, where Gov. Chet Culver declared 83 of the state’s 99 counties as state disaster areas and nine rivers were at or above historic flood levels. Elsewhere in the upper Midwest, rivers and streams tipping their banks forced evacuations, closed roads, and even threatened drinking water.

The hospital’s 176 patients, including about 30 patients in a nursing home facility at the hospital, were being evacuated to other hospitals in the region. The evacuation started late Thursday night and continued Friday morning in the city of 124,000 residents.

“Some are frail and so it’s a very delicate process with them,” said Karen Vander Sanden, a hospital spokeswoman.

Water was seeping into the hospital’s lower levels, where the emergency generator is located, said Dustin Hinrichs of the Linn County emergency operations center.

“They proactively and preventatively started evacuation basically guessing on the fact they were going to lose power,” he said.

Dave Koch, a spokesman for the Cedar Rapids fire department, said the river will crest Friday at about 31.8 feet. It was at 30.9 feet early in the morning. In a 1993 flood, considered the worst flood in recent history, it was at 19.27 feet.

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By 504crank, June 14, 2008 at 10:42 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Right-wingnuts like “pastor” John Hagee, whose endorsement McCain endorsed, and who said that the federal levee disaster in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina was God’s retribution for hosting a gay parade.

Right-wingnuts who called theft from stores when committed by blacks “looting”, but called it “finding” when committed by whites.

Right-wingnuts who, despite an 80 percent evacuation of the city, blamed the poor for not owning cars so they could evacuate from New Orleans with 24 hours notice before it was too late to get out.

Right-wingnuts who asked why anyone would want to build in a flood zone—as though other parts of the country don’t rely upon infrastructure built by the Corps of Engineers to keep them dry too.

Right-wingnuts like Fox News, who quickly came to the rescue of a completely out-of-touch, huckuva job president who ate birthday cake on the tarmac with John McCain rather than respond to the greatest natural and man-made disaster in U.S. history, by responding to Karl Rove’s orders to attack the New Orleans mayor and Louisiana governor in order to deflect attention.

Maybe they’ve all learned their lesson that it’s unbecoming of even the most fascistic of right-wingnuts to turn vilify victims during tragedy.

Or maybe it’s just that a large percentage of those victims in the Midwest tend to vote Republican.

Just making a point to vindicate New Orleans of the crimes committed against her.

Vast areas are still decimated, and tens of thousands of New Orleanians are still struggling, nearly three years after Hurricane Katrina.

Hopefully, a new president will be elected who appreciates the difficulty that will be experienced to rebuild the Midwest without federal leadership. It
won’t be that coward John McCain, however—he surrendered in New Orleans.

Godspeed to all you Midwesterners. You’re in for a difficult slog to recovery, but if you stick together, you’re also in for the greatest experience of the American spirit of working together to help each other in your lifetimes.

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By troublesum, June 14, 2008 at 6:07 am Link to this comment

It looks like FEMA no longer exists.  All I see is neighbor helping neighbor out there.  There’s been n mention of FEMA in any of the news reports.  Time for another couple hundred billion for Iraq.

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By Arabian Thoroughbred, June 13, 2008 at 10:44 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Sad as it might be, it seems Mother Nature or God, as some prefer to say, is not blessing parts of America with too much rain! But what the heck?! After eight years of physical and spiritual national drought, on Bush’s watch, a little bit of extra rain causing floods, might actually be a prelude for some relief soon to come! Possibly some extra rain might help wash away some of the sins we committed against other human beings and Nature.

One irony is that this extra water from heaven is causing floods in some parts of the country, while in other parts, like California, they are talking about rationing the use of water due to critical shortages. Whatever the explanation might be, wise people should learn a lesson from the signals Nature is sending us.

However, shortage of water worries me more than too much of it; for if shortage of water would be coupled with the shortage of supply in sources of energy, as we are experiencing it globally, the modern state of human existence could reach unbearable levels of misery.

Shall we pray for mercy from Nature, amend our ways of abusing it, or both?!

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By cyrena, June 13, 2008 at 4:43 pm Link to this comment

This is really catastrophic. Thank God they were on top of it, and able to move the patients, and the people were able to get out.

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