New Orleans took on an estimated 10 inches of rain yesterday (August 5, 2017), only 7 days before the one year anniversary of the historic 2016 flood that hit Baton Rouge.
While the city stands by, grassroots aid projects are channeling resources to affected parties while it’s needed. L’Eau Est La Vie Camp, the indigenous led resistance camp opposing Bayou Bridge Pipeline, is mobilizing to do physical flood relief work. Mutual Aid Disaster Relief is supporting the camp and Louisiana Flood Relief to organize aid. To request aid or volunteer specific goods or services email email@example.com
Sewage and Water Board has continuously reported that the “pumps are working” but in reality their system was not designed to effectively handle the increase in storm intensity and frequency which have become normalized due to climate change. In fact, the city’s pumping system is only designed to handle at most one inch of rain during the first hour and half-an-inch every hour after.
Contrary to the government’s claims, their infrastructure is NOT working and will not work in the future. Without proper investment in infrastructure upgrades and coastal wetland restoration, the current infrastructure is not able to keep people safe or to prevent several feet of standing water from entering into some neighborhoods. Furthermore, the city is not prepared to administer aid when emergency situations arise.
Despite the national rhetoric, Louisiana Governor John Belle Edwards has called the coastal erosion in southern Louisiana a state of emergency and has called for federal assistance. Additionally, the head of the Orleans Sewage and Water Board addressed climate change in the city’s press statement about last night’s flooding, stating that rain events like yesterday will happen more and more. This has been corroborated by the historic flooding that has happened across the country over the last decade as climate change impacts progressed. Storms will continue to increase in intensity and frequency if people and the US government to do not implement behavior, projects, and policies that address and help mitigate climate change.
Unfortunately, while representatives make “official” statements acknowledging climate change, they also actively work to contradict their publicly stated concerns.
For example, the state has approved several permits for the Bayou Bridge pipeline without having mandated an Environmental Impact Statement or Assessment. The Bayou Bridge pipeline would cut right through the Atchafalaya Basin, a large wetland and watershed that provides Louisiana residents with flood protection from storm surges. This project will impede the basin’s natural ability to mitigate flooding.
At the same time, the city is unwilling to make the structural investments needed to engineer and implement mitigation strategies for future flooding. In previous statements, the city of New Orleans has said that an upgrade to the drainage system would cost the city money that it doesn’t have.
Where are the millions of taxpayer dollars that could be channeled into disaster mitigation going?
$615 million is going to the police and incarceration efforts, both of which use socioeconomic crises, like this flood, to profit from criminalizing the low-income people and people of color in New Orleans.
Orleans Parish representatives are blaming this smaller crisis on climate change while refusing to take the necessary and urgent steps to protect the people and the city from its impacts. Instead, the city continues to invest money and services in militarizing the police and supporting projects like the Bayou Bridge Pipeline, which weaken the state’s natural ability to prevent flooding.
It is up to people to build sustainable communities capable of supporting each other when these systems inevitably fail. To stand in solidarity with parish residents who have been affected yet again due to negligence of politicians, contact us. We are a coalition of groups who are standing together to assist with disaster response and relief, in solidarity.
L’Eau Est La Vie Camp
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Website – http://lelvcamp.org or visit Facebook
Louisiana Flood Relief
Email – email@example.com
Mutual Aid Disaster Relief
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Or visit Facebook