It’s important we learn from our mistakes, inaction

Published 1:58 pm Friday, December 20, 2019

With any life experience, any lesson learned, you want to know that the effort, the pain or the toil was worth it in the end.

You want to know if you are going through difficult times there is something better on the other end.

As the cliche goes, you want to be able to not only know there is light at the end of the tunnel, but you want to be able to see it.

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Such is the case for those who live in the Yazoo Backwater Area, and other areas flooded this year, who are continuing to struggle through the recovery process of rebuilding their lives, their businesses and their homes.

For them, looking back accomplishes nothing. They cannot stop the water from rushing in. They cannot stop the rain from falling. All they are capable of doing is the next thing; the next thing on the checklist to returning their lives to some sense of normalcy.

It is difficult cleaning out. It is difficult throwing away. It is difficult to wade through state and federal bureaucracies. It is difficult going back and forth with insurance companies and adjusters.

It is worth it? Was their tragedy worth it?

Their toil will only be worth it if it does not happen again; if the lessons of the man-made disaster of the 2019 Yazoo Backwater Area Flood are learned from.

By man-made, we are referring to the often discussed, long-planned, never completed and embargoed plans for pumps in the backwater area. Pumps that were originally planned in the 1940s would have curtailed much of the damage caused in this year’s floods, but thanks to governmental inaction, protests and vetos, the plan has never been fully completed.

This flood is a result of that inaction. Yes, the flood would still have happened; there’s no changing Mother Nature’s mind when she gets going, but we should have been better prepared, better protected.

The only way to make up for such inaction is to make sure action is now taken.

Thursday, the U.S. Senate passed a federal spending bill that includes $375 million for a number of projects in the Mississippi River and Tributaries system for flood control, including the Yazoo Backwater Area Pump Project.

That is a positive step on a long road to getting these pumps funded, approved and installed, and is welcome news for those recovering.

Those who choose to live on the water make a choice to deal with those threats caused by water, what they do not choose is to face those threats alone. Their recovery is being supported by the community and through organizations.

Their recovery must also be supported by knowing that this too shall end and that changes are coming to make sure such a tragedy does not happen again.