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Mississippi Could See Special Federal Funds For Flood Recovery

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 22 May 2011 03:04pm | comments
Senators Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker with Vicksburg Mayor Paul Winfield.

Mississippi's U-S Senators have toured the extensive river flooding and could ask congress for special funds to help the delta recover. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports.

Senators Roger Wicker and Thad Cochran toured some of the 1.8-million acres affected by the flood from a helicopter this weekend.

Standing on a bluff overlooking the still swollen River at Vicksburg, Senator Cochran says the flooding is unlike anything he has ever seen.

"When you get to this area and just see the intensity of the flow of the water, the breadth of the river out of banks, and in some places it is just as far as you can see, and it is just awesome," Cochran said.

The water is slowly dropping inches a day and will remain above flood stage until at least mid-June.

Senator Roger Wicker says the damage is so extensive that it might require special money from congress to help the state recover...especially for dredging at ports along the river.

"Rather than shut down the economic engines that our ports are, it makes sense to me that we would have a little emergency money that was not budgeted because we had no idea a flood of this magnitude was going to come along. We need to get those ports re-opened and get the economic activity restarted," Wicker said.

Some of that money could also help the Army Corp of Engineers repair any damage done to the levee system as a result of the flood.

Army Corp Colonel Jeff Eckstein says they only have a short window of time to repair the levees to have them ready for the next flood.

"The engineers within the district are starting to gear up to go out and do assessments. So we can prioritize where we should be doing our work as the water recedes to make sure we maintain and achieve the same reliability in this system as we go into next year," Eckstein said.

Eckstein says they won't be able to fully examine the damage until the water hits 40-feet on the Vicksburg gauge....that's a 17-foot decrease from the flood crest last week.

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Senators Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker with Vicksburg Mayor Paul Winfield.


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