Darrell in Iowa writes:
I am in Mason City. Our levees broke Sunday morning. Flood stage is 7 foot and waters are now at 19 feet. Hundreds of homes and businesses are underwater. The City's water plant was flooded and the entire city of 30,000 is without potable water. A couple of hours ago the main electric substation flooded and failed and much of the city is without power. People remain in flooded homes. Early tonight I saw people wandering the streets not knowing where to go. There are entrie areas of the city with NO emergency personnel on hand.
NOBODY from the outside has come to help. Our local first responders are exhausted and overwhelmed. Small rural towns downstream tonight are being devasted. Levees everywhere are failing. Calls for help in these small towns have been unmet. Portions of our local guard are in Iraq.
The homeland has been left unprotected and people are suffering horribly.
There are images
And more of the story:
June 7, 2008 - Saturday
The Dike broke and flooding is Horrible
A quick post to let everyone know we are safe. I am at my parents house in Mason City, Iowa. The flooding rivers have now past a 75 year old record and will crest several feet higher later tonight. A few hours ago the dike on the main river broke. The City water plant is under water and soon this city of 30,000 people will be without drinking water. By this afternoon the last remaining bridge to the area we are in will be under water stranding about 10,000 people. We are high enough we won't flood although we will be cut off. I have the boat standing by in the back yard in case we need it. More later as I have time...need to see what I can do to help friends whose houses are under water.
Oh damn, thought the rain had stopped but it is starting again.
1:40 pm update....The rain continues to fall heavily and waters are rising fast again. The flood stage on the main river is 7 feet. We are now at 18 feeting and rising. The City is telling people we will be without water for at least two days and possibly all week. There must now be concern about contamination because people are being told not to use city water supply. I made it to the store before the bridge was closed and a semi load of water had just come in...as fast as it could be unloaded people were grabbing it. Its like chaos at the grocery stores. We are being told to expect much worse. I am in my RV, but need to soon abandon it. The water is about a foot deep around it and thats just urban flooding...its nowhere near a river.
10:00 pm update - I just got back a half hour ago from my brothers business where they are sand bagging. The rain has finally stopped and although on TV they report water is not longer rising...that's not what is happening. The street I took two hours to get out of our neighborhood is now under water. I was one of the last vehicles to get through the bumper deep water before it was closed. We are now completely isolated and cut off from the rest of the City.
State of Emergency - Disaster Declaration
A state of Emergency has been declared and the area will be declared a Disaster Area. The water levels are reported to be stable on the news, but I can tell you thats not the case where we are. They are still rising. Here's a list of what we are hearing on the radio and some local facts.
- Mason City, Iowa is a city of about 30,000 people. Two Rivers converge in downtown Mason City. Mason City is located 25 miles south of the Minnesota/Iowa border near Interstate 35.
- We have had over six inches of rain in the last 24 hours and over ten inches in the last three days.
- A curfew is in effect and all businesses are closed.
- Hundreds of houses and businesses are under water.
- A third of the City is totally cut off and isolated by flood waters. I am in that area.
- The Mason City water plant has been inundated and now the water is unsafe to drink and use for the entire City.
- Large areas are being evacuated and City transit buses are taking people ten miles west to Clear Lake, Iowa where evacuation centers are set up.
- Porta Potties are being set up around the city tonight because the sewer system is also failing and all 30,000 residents are being told not to use toilets etc. We still have water pressure because the water towers are not yet empty but unsure how long that will last. The City has a 5 million gallon underground water storage facility but that area is entirely underwater and they fear the entire water system is contaminated.
I have seen no evidence of any kind of effort to check houses and check on persons welfare. The only emergency people here are the local authorities. NOBODY from outside has come to help.
While walking around near the downtown area I came across a young guy around 20 years old carrying several bags and packs. He approached me telling me that he was told to evacuate and they had given him only one days worth of meds. He obviously was mentally ill and probably taking psychotropic medications. He told me a bus was supposed to get him but he didn't know where it was. Nearby was a mental residential care facility that was partially surrounded by water. I asked him if that was where he lived. He told me yes and I took him back. I left him with another resident. There were no responsible parties or emergency people anywhere in the vicinity. It angers me that whatever person that runs/owns that facility wasn't better taking care of these people. I know its a private care facility.
You would think our government would have learned after Katrina. Where in the hell is FEMA? There are 30,000 people here without water. There are still people in flooded homes. People are wandering the streets not knowing what to do and where to go.
12:30 am update - An hour ago the main electrical power substation serving downtown Mason City was flooded and has failed. The entire central part of the city is in the dark where the flooding is the worst. More then 2,000 homes are now without power. There are no expectations that power will be restored until sometime tomorrow.
Just one thought. The reason we organize ourselves into communities is to deal with the vagaries of man and nature we can't effectively handle by ourselves. There are those who believe that natural disasters are an expression of God's will. But, when that's the attitude of men who have been appointed and paid to organize and deliver an appropriate response and compound the disaster by failing to show up, that's a crime of the highest order.
Where is FEMA?