The devastation caused by last weekend’s flooding in southern Louisiana is now on par with Hurricane Sandy damage, according to officials. The flood’s death toll has risen to 13, with more than 40,000 homes damaged or destroyed by the flood waters. After Sandy blasted the East coast just shy of four years ago, the storm dominated the news headlines and both sympathy and support poured in from around the world. Now, many are wondering why the victims of Louisiana’s flood are not receiving the same response.
The flooding came suddenly, centered on the state capitol of Baton Rouge, after torrential rains soaked the southern part of the state last weekend and caused rivers and creeks to overflow. President Barack Obama was quick to approve the emergency declaration requested by Governor John Bel Edwards, but others—namely leading presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump—have done nothing more that tweet their sympathies. The lack of action, as well as the absence of national media coverage, have not gone unnoticed.
The Advocate, one of Louisiana’s largest newspapers, published a scathing editorial on Wednesday demanding attention—and a visit—from the President, who is currently on vacation at Martha’s Vineyard. The piece likens Obama’s lack of action to the days following Hurricane Katrina, when then-President George W. Bush disappointed flood victims by delaying his visit to the devastated areas of Louisiana. “We’ve seen this story before in Louisiana, and we don’t deserve a sequel,” the editorial reads. “A disaster this big begs for the personal presence of the President at ground zero.”
This week has certainly been a disaster for residents of southern Louisiana, stretching from Baton Rouge to Lafayette. Tens of thousands of homes and businesses have been destroyed by the flooding, leaving more than 100,000 residents displaced. In some areas, coffins have been unearthed and found floating in flood waters, similar to the aftermath of massive rains in South Carolina last year. Red Cross spokesperson Craig Cooper told USA Today that the flooding, which is estimated will cost at least $30 million in aid, is the biggest natural disaster since Hurricane Sandy but it isn’t getting the national media attention it deserves because of bad timing. The ongoing Rio Olympics, the presidential election season, and the California wildfires are all taking precedent, leaving Louisiana’s storm victims out in the cold.
Via USA Today
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