Letter to the Editor: Pumps provided for Ida, but Yazoo Backwater still stalled

Published 9:50 am Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Dear Editor,

Virtually overnight, the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) received $25 million from FEMA for recovery following Hurricane Ida. This mission will include deploying pumps to Kraemer in LaFourche Parish and Lafitte in Jefferson Parish. If only Mississippi got the same speed and decisive action from our federal government.

Quick action is necessary following any natural disaster, and when that natural disaster involves flooding, pumps are essential to help remove the water. So at face value, it makes sense that the Biden Administration would work to quickly send funds and pump water out of the impacted communities — even communities with a couple hundred residents.

Please don’t get me wrong — as a community of strong flood survivors, I understand the importance of this action. The inequity of it just doesn’t make much sense when you really look at it. 

Compare this to the South Mississippi Delta, which has 10 times the population of these two small Louisiana communities, and who are 62 percent minorities and 33 percent who live below the poverty line. In 2019, after five months of standing floodwater devastated over 500,000 acres and entered nearly 700 homes, USACE denied our request for aid. The water proceeded to sit for another two months, and today, we are fighting for the proven, permanent solution: completing the Yazoo Backwater Pumps.

The scales of environmental justice seem permanently tipped against our community. If the administration truly believes in environmental justice, they should fast-track the Yazoo Backwater Pumps and help us rebuild our community.

Sincerely,

Ann Dahl

Eagle Lake, Miss.