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State Shifts into Flood Recovery Mode

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 23 May 2011 02:52pm | comments
A long table in a tent holds seats for emergency management leaders.

Mississippi is shifting into flood recovery mode as the Mississippi river slowly retreats. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports on the plans of recovery from the historic flood.

On a barren hill outside Yazoo City, more than a dozen big RVs, semi-trucks, and tents mark the temporary home for the state and federal teams coordinating their flood response.

Sitting in a plain brown tent, Clifford Galey, the president of the Mississippi Civil Defense Emergency Management Association, says they choose the site to be prepared to respond to a worst case scenario...a breech in the hundreds of miles of Mississippi River levees.

"The best outcome of this is, we didn't have or we haven't yet had a major breech or event. But it also will give us a plan to know how everybody works and how to work together when this is over with. So we can pull our plan out and modify it a bit if there is an event somewhere," Galey said.

at its peak, the camp held around 400 emergency management professionals from highway patrol troopers to a temporary hospital.

Now that the Yazoo River has crested, National Guard Colonel Lee Smithson says operations are winding down and shifting from flood rescue to flood recovery.

"Just all the hazardous material and hazardous waste that has floated up. People with septic tanks that have overflowed. All of the liquid propane tanks that have washed out of yards. And the agricultural storage areas and the chemicals and things like that. So we are not finished yet," Smithson said.

For some state agencies, the dropping flood levels means their work is ramping up.

Highway patrol Lt. Gerry Crawford says the highway patrol is preparing to protect flooded neighborhoods from opportunistic criminals.

"We are going to be into security mode. We will be screening people a lot more than we are now. There are going to be a lot of sightseers that come in and a lot of bad guys that come in and try to get to these homes that are unoccupied because they are evacuated. But we will stay here as long as we are needed," Crawford said.

Many thieves are after the copper in the homes and will sometimes pose as relief workers in order to get into flooded neighborhoods.

Lt. Crawford says they have already arrested one man for allegedly stealing the wiring out of flooded homes.

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A long table in a tent holds seats for emergency management leaders.


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