For the last few weeks the news has been telling us over and over again to make sure we have flood insurance, to make sure we’re “prepared”, and to make sure we have an emergency plan. That’s because near a dam on the Green River, there’s (apparently) an earth embankment that’s likely to (somehow) fail this coming winter, resulting in a flood anywhere between three and ten feet deep. (Update: Some news stories predict the dam over-topping; others predict the embankment failing. It’s hard to know which is actually the official prediction.)
A few days ago, my wife commented that the news mentioned the National Guard preparing accomodations for 5,000 displaced people in the event of a flood. Five thousand? There are probably five thousand people in my apartment complex. The flood zone is much, much bigger than my apartment complex. Where are all these people supposed to go?
It gets even better, though. Yesterday evening, the news played some comments by some woman high up in the local (city or county) government. Her comments went something like this:
We need to learn from Hurricane Katrina. After Katrina, the city ran out of body bags, and families were stuck with bodies for weeks and weeks. We want to make sure that no families here are stuck with a body for weeks.
So much concern over body bags proves to me that they’re expecting a lot of deaths. Wouldn’t it make more sense to tell everyone to leave the area? That way, nobody dies! Gee, what a novel idea.
I feel like the local government is completely clueless about what to do about this flood. Nobody has ever explained why they aren’t fixing the levy. If money’s the issue, I’m sure the tens of thousands of people in the flood zone could all pitch in and fund repairs – I know I would be willing.
Update: I found a local news station’s story on the King County Council meeting. This was the actual quote:
KIRO 7 Eyewitness News reporter Chris Egert said one council member asked about body bags while others made comparisons to Hurricane Katrina.
“I want to know what we have in the supply of body bags if somebody gets killed,” asked Kathy Lambert of the King County Council. “Do we have a supply of body bags so families will be able to deal with that?”
Update 2: Another news story on the same station’s site informs us that
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Engineers are working 24 hours a day on a temporary fix at the dam, but they don’t know how well it will work.