Posted at 02:59 PM ET, 05/16/2011

Mississippi River flooding: What happens to the homes affected?

An Expedition 27 crew member aboard the International Space Station, 220 miles above Earth and the Mississippi River, captured this May 12 image, clearly showing the outlines of some heavily flooded agricultural fields on the Missouri side of the river. (
The Mississippi River has slowly overtaken land in Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas and Louisiana. About 100 homes were damaged or destroyed after a levee was blown up in Missouri. Near Baton Rouge and New Orleans, areas of town have been evacuated, even though spillways were opened to divert the water from most heavily populated neighborhoods.

In Butte LaRose, the Associated Press interviewed Chalmers and Chandler Wheat, two brothers who thought their house would be all right so long as the water level didn’t exceed 2 feet.

“If the water gets higher, we’re pretty much ...” Chalmers Wheat told the Associated Press, before his brother chimed in: “Screwed.”

If that is the case, for the Wheat brothers and hundreds more like them, The Post’s Ed O’Keefe explains that there are some protections for them after the flooding:

“More than half of the U.S. population now lives in coastal watershed counties or floodplain areas, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

William Jefferson paddles a boat in the street near his home in the King's Community neighborhood in Vicksburg, Mississippi. (By Scott Olson/Getty Images)
“Federal law requires homeowners living in officially designated flood-prone areas to purchase flood insurance, with the cost of premiums dependent on the flood risk to each specific location.

“The National Flood Insurance Program, managed by FEMA, administers more than 5.6 million policies providing more than $1.2 trillion in coverage to 21,000 communities in the 50 states and U.S. territories.

“By law, those insured by the program must be paid for flood damages caused by unusual or rapid accumulation of water, no matter its source.

“In Louisiana, more than 482,000 flood insurance policies provide about $106.8 billion in coverage, according to FEMA records. After disaster declarations, homeowners without flood insurance are eligible for about $30,000 in aid from FEMA.”

PBS “Newshour” found that some people were preparing to evacuate, while others decided to stay put in their homes, come high water.

By  |  02:59 PM ET, 05/16/2011

Tags:  Daily Catch

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