MS Governor to Poor Residents Facing Historic Floods: Good Luck, You're Basically on Your Own

Let's say you're the governor of a state that's about to face near record-breaking floods, and those floods are expected to disproportionately affect one of the most poverty-stricken areas of the United States. What would be on your agenda? Mobilizing an evacuation plan, pehaps? Or maybe preparing to offer state assistance to flood victims?

If you were Mississippi Governor Haley "Segregation Wasn't Really So Bad" Barbour, apparently this would be your game plan instead:

As the water rose, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour moved furniture out of his lake house outside Vicksburg on family land that was inundated during the 1927 flood. A week ago, he urged residents to flee low-lying areas, saying that the state wouldn't assist the evacuations and that people should help one another secure their property and get out.

That's right, you'd make sure the furniture in your lake house was taken care of, and tell the poor residents of your state that they should figure things out themselves.

The economic impact of the flood is expected to be immense, in both the short and long term. The AP:

Farmers built homemade levees to protect their corn, cotton, wheat and soybean crops, but many believed the crops would be lost entirely.

More than 1,500 square miles of farmland in Arkansas, which produces about half of the nation's rice, have been swamped over the past few weeks, and the economic impact will be more than $500 million, according to the state's Farm Bureau.

In Carter, Miss., about 35 miles east of the Mississippi, Scott Haynes, 46, estimated he would spend more than $80,000 on contractors to build levees around his house and grain silos, which hold 200,000 bushels of rice that he can't get out before the water comes....

The state's key gambling industry took a hit: All 19 casinos along the river will be shut down by the end of the week, costing governments $12 million to $13 million in taxes per month, authorities said. That will put some 13,000 employees temporarily out of work

The region is eligible for federal assistance, after President Obama declared several counties disaster areas. But I think we can all agree that the Republican response will be so much more helpful: "We'll pray for you."

(H/T Crooks and Liars)

AlterNet / By Lauren Kelley

Posted at May 13, 2011, 7:17am

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