Mississippi River Flood of 1993 Term Paper

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These short-term agreements should be among contingency plans drawn up before a flood arrives, although it would not always be possible to predict the dimensions of floods and the resourcefulness and responses of individuals facing the emergency. The proper approach would be a mingling of a lot of intergovernmental planning and voluntary agreements among city, county and State governments and federal agencies (Wahl).

The widespread human and material distress, caused by the 1993 Mississippi River Flood would provoke the mind of sober individuals as the wisdom of the policies and programs, which contributed to that disaster (Myers 1993). In confronting the cause and effects of the Great Flood, the nation first needed to decide whether to rebuild, strengthen, raise, lower or simply abandon the levees along the Upper Mississippi and lower Missouri Rivers. Then focus should be made on the long-term quality of natural landscapes and human communities in the region. These communities could optimize distinctive floodplain values without degrading or depleting basic resources. Next would be measures on water management for the entire nation, including improving methods for the comparative evaluation of levees with other adjustments to floods; modifying policy in order to deal with substantially damaged structures after flooding; revising the strategy for protecting weak or exposed public facilities, such as water treatment plants; modifying the policy for the extension of federal assistance to property owners without flood insurance; and increasing the availability of federal crop or flood insurance. It should be tied to the reduction of flood, erosion, or drought vulnerability. Another measure should be the expansion of the federal government's capacity to help local communities draw up and implement plans, which would address jointly residential, commercial, recreational, agricultural and wildfire goals in adjusting to flood disasters. There may already be current measures receiving attention from the concerned, such as improvements in flood insurance, but the other measures mentioned developed out of the consequences of the 1993 Flood (Myers).

The involvement of the federal government in coping with the work and consequences of flood disasters grew since 1825 (Myers 1993). Their initial and principal involvement was navigation, which provided only incidental benefits for flood management. In the past, floods were considered as a problem within the realm of local and State levee districts. Since the major flood of 1850, however, it was arrived at in the lower Mississippi basin that some broad program was needed to cope with recurrent flood losses, even if the primary cost was to be non-federal. Two army engineers contributed their approaches, which later formed as the basis for guiding investment, but which was limited to levees. When the Great Flood of 1927 wreaked havoc, levees broke and the River breached its confines. As the water receded, it became evident that the strategy of "levees only" was inadequate. Support for other types of structures was incorporated into policies. The federal government eventually assumed the larger burden of cost and the full responsibility for reservoir projects (Myers).

The concept of mitigating damages from disasters gained support in the past few decades, giving emphasis on the disaster cycle of preparedness, response and recovery and mitigation (Myers 1993). Federal policy promoted the concept of mitigation after a disaster. Unfortunately, there has yet to be established a systematic assessment on tracing and measuring the effectiveness of mitigating teams. It also seemed that the mitigation concept received attention only during or after a major disaster (Myers).


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