Midwest flood victims feel misled by feds

GULFPORT, Ill. - Juli Parks didn't worry when water began creeping up the levee that shields this town of about 750 from the Mississippi River — not even when volunteers began piling on sandbags.

After all, local officials had assured townspeople in 1999 that the levee was sturdy enough to withstand a historic flood, and FEMA had agreed. In fact, some relieved homeowners dropped their flood insurance, and others applied for permits to build new houses and businesses.

Then on Tuesday, the worst happened: The levee burst and Gulfport was submerged in 10 feet of water. Only 28 property owners were insured against the damage.

"They all told us, `The levees are good. You can go ahead and build,'" said Parks, who did not buy flood coverage because her bank no longer required it. "We had so much confidence in those levees."

Around the country, thousands of residents who relied on risk maps from the Federal Emergency Management Agency may unknowingly face similar dangers.

"People put all their hopes in those levees, and when they do fail, the damage is catastrophic," said Paul Osman, the National Flood Insurance Program coordinator for Illinois. "New Orleans is the epitome; a lot of those people didn't even realize they were in a floodplain until the water was up to their roofs."

Mike Buckley, a FEMA deputy assistant administrator, said agency officials encourage everyone to buy federal flood insurance and have never claimed that levees eliminate the risk of flooding.

But now — amid the disastrous flooding across Iowa, Illinois and Missouri — some policymakers are demanding the government come up with more accurate, up-to-date flood-risk assessments, inform the public better of the dangers, and require nearly all homeowners to buy coverage if they live near dams or levees.


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I'm a bit confused why these people were not required to have flood insurance. My parents are currently going through a reverse mortgage, and were told, that if the appraiser pulled up a flood map that showed it had flooded at least one time in twenty years, they'd have to buy flood insurance (about $1,000 a year). That, since Katrina, the govt. has been pretty strict about this. Also, I have a close friend who owns a shop in Sylvania who has to pay $800 a year flood insurance for the same resason. No way will it flood where her shop is at, but because that flood map showed that it did, in fact, flood at least once in the last twenty years, it was required. Anybody holding a mortgage may be required to carry flood insurance, for those same reasons. My dad is outraged at the idea of having to buy flood insurance - their house is built so high up on a hill away from the river it couldnt possibly flood their home. But he may be required to do so. Just the fact that there were levies built to retain the river in the first place would seem to me, to be a clue that perhaps, it has flooded there at least once in twenty years. So I wonder how flood insurance was not required upon building those homes.

The happenings with flood insurance around Toledo is just the financial system trying to load up consumers with as many charges as possible. The system has to be INTENTIONALLY broken if a house on a hill is told it needs by law to have flood insurance.

I've watched people get slammed with this "new" flood-insurance requirement over the last 5 years or so. It's just a scam by insurance companies acting behind the scenes with legislators and banks to get you to cover their dotcom-era losses.

The floodplains are covered by federal insurance programs, which were allegedly setup since private insurers would not cover the people on those plains (and with good reason!).

Have these people had their heads in the sand? Did they not notice how the levees that were supposed to protect NOLA failed? Did it escape them how badly the government both local, state and federal handled the whole Katrina thing?


Why on God's green Earth would they just take anything that was told to them about something as important as the levees protecting them at face value?

"FOLEY, Mo. - FOLEY, Mo. – John Young thought he made the real estate deal of his life in 1993 when he bought a flood-damaged, three-bedroom house in this Mississippi River town for just $3,000. Like his neighbors, Young found the bargain because he figured the river would not in hundreds of years ever flood so badly again.

But as Young watched the raging river march into his backyard Friday, he couldn't quite believe how his luck had changed.

"They told us in 1993 that was a 500-year-flood," Young said, unable to contain his bitterness. "Well, it's only 15 years later and here we are again."


Where are the calls from the galleries, as in why is this a tax payer problem, after people made a choice to build in the area and the government has sought over many decades to try and force the river to comply with the needs of commerce and people.

The government should bail out the homeowners?

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