OUR OPINION: South Delta residents are Faces of the Floods

Published 6:36 pm Thursday, August 25, 2022

A group of five delegates from the federal government entered the belly of the beast on Wednesday to participate in a listening session on the invitation of Sen. Roger Wicker and Congressional Rep. Bennie Thompson.

The auditorium of South Delta High School in Rolling Fork was packed full of people, the majority of whom have been profoundly impacted by flooding in the Yazoo Backwater area. For more than two hours, a number of residents stood in front of microphones on either side of the room and aired their grievances, concerns and, in many cases, downright begged their government officials to keep a promise made more than 80 years ago.

From cash-crop farmers to backwoods dwellers, each person detailed the plight of their people. It wasn’t an issue of Black or white. For those few powerful minutes, they united under one banner: A cry for help.

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It would be difficult for anyone who witnessed the meeting in Rolling Fork to walk away without being profoundly impacted. Emotionally alone, the tales of nightmares, suffering wildlife, women who worried themselves to death and more was enough to soften even the hardest heart. At least, one can hope.

The consensus overall from speakers — aside from two environmental activists who do not live in the area — was that pumps alone won’t be enough to right the wrongs done to the people of the backwater.

They’re asking for adequate reparations and options to relocate or repair their homes in addition to the completion of the pumps. They are asking for resources to recover decimated wildlife populations in the area. And they’re asking the committee appointed by the White House to listen to them — not special interest groups from other parts of the country who don’t adequately understand the harsh reality of life in the floods.

That’s why The Vicksburg Post is embarking on a new content series: Faces of the Floods. Each week, readers will have the opportunity to read the story of an individual from the Yazoo Backwater area whose life has been touched by the floodwaters. These stories will be paired with photographs and testimonial audio from Wednesday’s listening session and separate interviews.

While the South Mississippi Delta is oft-forgotten in many circles, it’s hard to ignore the people’s cries for help.

If you or someone you know is a South Delta resident impacted by the Yazoo Backwater Floods, email The Vicksburg Post’s Managing Editor at anna.guizerix@vicksburgpost.com to share your story.