Residents of the flooded Yazoo Basin have started a media campaign to bring attention to the longest lasting flood in Mississippi in modern times.
The Mississippi River has been above flood stage for 109 days, something that hasn’t happened since 1927.
The “Finish the Pumps” signs are an organized effort of four Basin residents: Charles Toney, Mike Brown, Gene Ford and another man who wishes to remain anonymous. Their aim is to catch the attention of the national media and maybe even President Donald J. Trump.
The Yazoo Basin includes the cities of Holly Bluff, Valley Park and Redwood along with Eagle Lake. Campaign organizers say that residents of the area now underwater have shown strong support for the president, and they feel if they can direct his attention to the issue, he will help them.
The pumps the signs refer to would sit in Steele Bayou and complete a 60-year-old building project to prevent flooding in the Yazoo Basin. Hundreds of millions of dollars were spent over several decades to build levees, channels and control structures to move the water in the Yazoo Basin to Steele Bayou. The plan was was then use a group of pumps to move the water out of Steele Bayou during high water; however, the Environmental Protection Agency used an administrative veto to stop construction of the pumps in 2008. The EPA is currently reviewing that veto in light of this historic flood, News Mississippi reported yesterday.
South Delta residents of the Yazoo Basin feel they’ve been cheated out of their land. Flooding has become an all-too-common problem since the Steele Bayou control structure was built in 1969.
Today, some 540,000 acres of Basin land are underwater. Wildlife has been forced onto small plots of land where the animals are stranded and starve. Their carcasses litter the roads. Some people have to boat to their homes, including Redwood resident Stormy Deere.
Farmers in the South Delta will not get a crop in the ground this year, meaning an untold economic loss for the region. Thousands of jobs for farm laborers are gone. Families who have farmed the land for generations say they’ve never seen anything like it, and according to current projections, there is no end in sight to the flooding.
The forecast calls for more rain.