GUIZERIX: Feds, keep paying attention to the South Delta

Published 4:00 am Wednesday, April 5, 2023

The news of President Joe Biden’s visit to Rolling Fork surprised the community last week.

It was wonderful that the Commander-In-Chief and First Lady decided to fly down and survey the little town of “Rolling Stone,” but truthfully, I wondered what took the federal government so long to pay attention. The South Delta has been in turmoil each spring for more than 100 years as seasonal floods overtake their land.

For decades within that time, they’ve been dealing with increased flooding exacerbated by the federal government’s lack of action and failure to keep its promises.

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There are a couple of points to make clear before delving into this issue.

First, the devastation from the March 24 tornado and the devastation from floods in the South Delta (which covers much more land than Rolling Fork) are two separate beasts. Second, the federal government can and should offer every available resource to those in Rolling Fork and elsewhere impacted by the March 24 tornado.

Taking both of those points into consideration, the overwhelming questions I had were, What took so long? Why did it take a tornado to get those in power to pay adequate attention to this part of the country?

As we mark the halfway point on the EPA and Army’s “aggressive” schedule to find a flood mitigation solution for the South Delta after years of vetos and failures, it’s my hope that the feds will keep their eye turned to Rolling Fork and the larger South Delta community.

Biden was correct in saying the tornado damage was “tough stuff.”

But there are far greater problems in the area — they were there for years and, I fear, will be there long after the town is rebuilt. Flooding, the economic crippling of its residents due to insufficient infrastructure and an ever-diminishing tax base, just to name a few, will not go away once the town recovers from the tornado.

As it is wont to do every spring, the water is rising.

The federal government is doing good to offer assistance to such a great extent for those impacted by the tornado. But if the feds really want to make a difference in the lives of Rolling Fork and South Delta residents, they’d be wise to keep paying attention.