Saturday, June 14, 2008

Flood of '08

I was oblivious to the current natural disaster hitting most of Iowa until yesterday when while driving I cannot get through a main street to go back to our office in downtown Des Moines. Cars were slowing down and the red traffic lights were blinking when I saw water spilling like lava from a large manhole on the side of the street filling the street with dark water creating a small lake. City workers were scrambling to place large signs for detours and placing temporary sand levees to prevent flooding to the nearby buildings. After taking long detours, I arrived in our office with more empathy to one of the secretaries who was evacuated from her home few days ago due to 5 feet of water in her basement. Earlier that day, I asked how she was doing and without prompting she showed me several pictures of her basement where you can see stuffs floating including her washer and dryer. Before I left for home , I wished her a good weekend and she answered me with a smirk "Yeah right."

Upon returning home, I watched the news learning that more mandatory evacuations were in placed in some Des Moines neighborhoods that are within 500 year flood zones as the integrity of the levees were compromised. The news showed desperate people wading through contaminated flood water that is about thigh high for them (maybe waist or chest high for me) trying to rescue their pets and some precious belongings. At the bottom of the screen, evacuation shelters and sandbag outlets were being advertised. Several events such as the Republican and Democratic parties state convention, the Iowa Cub Games as well as the Farmer's Market were cancelled. Our plan for the weekend changed as we found out that the streets to our favorite places were closed. It is a very small discomfort compared to people directly affected by flooding. What a year for natural disaster!

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