June 20th, 2008
08:35 PM ET

Living through the floods

Kay Jones
AC360° Staff

Island living sounds appealing to most folks. But most folks picture pristine water around them, not the muddy waters of the Mississippi.

Henry Dieterich is experiencing this right now – credit a breached levee a few miles away. Gary Tuchman, our crew and I took a flat bottomed boat across what normally is the road to get to his island.

It's actually quite peaceful out there, if you didn't know the reason you were there. And Dieterich, his son, grandson and a neighbor are making the most of it. They will likely be in this situation for a while, since the river hasn't crested yet.

You'll meet them in Gary's report tonight on AC360 at 10p ET. See you then!

Filed under: Behind The Scenes
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Matt Diederich

    Where do I begin? I am Henry Diederich's oldest son. I lived there for 30 years before I moved near Cape Girardeau, Missouri mainly for work reasons. I guess my question is "Where in the world is it safe to live without worring about some sort of natural (or man-made) disaster? Cape Girardeau,MO, along with a number of other cities in the Midwest lies on the New Madrid fault line. I could have moved out west to contend with earthquakes, landslides, wildfires. Or to one of the central states to be on the lookout for Tornadoes, Or One of the US's major Metropolitan areas for crime and murder or terrorist attack. Coastal areas to worry about hurricanes each year. Hawaii, for typhoons, tsunamis, volcanoes. Or maybe a war-torn country like Iraq, Afganistan,Isreal or Iran. Is there a place to live where things like this doesn't happen? If there was, wouldn't everyone be living there?

    My family has lived there on that "so called" island for nearly 100 years. I myself saw the last two major floods. One in 1973 and also in 1993. Everyone considers this to be a natural disaster when in fact, it is a man-made disaster. The more our country grows, the more houses are built, the more concrete is poured, the higher the levies are made for river navigation for bigger boats to hall larger amounts of products up and down the river--The faster these large amounts of rain are going to run off-thus the higher the river gets. Its not mother nature doing this, Its human nature, To grow! We'v had 10 to 12 inch rains in these same areas for hundreds of years.

    Dad (Henry) and everyone will get through this like they always have. And this will be forgotten when the next natural disaster (or should I say man-made disaster) occurs. Where will the next disaster be? Will it effect you? People should think first before the criticize where people live.

    Matt Diederich

    June 21, 2008 at 4:15 pm |
  2. Dan F

    Right now the focus should rightly be on human life and the saving of property, but I wonder if anyone has thought of the environmental impact on these fertile farmlands?

    June 21, 2008 at 3:07 pm |
  3. juliette

    I'm wondering what has happened to all of the farm animals in the Midwest. I haven't heard anything mentioned about them in the news coverage.

    June 21, 2008 at 9:25 am |
  4. dee

    I am worried that all that water will continue down to Louisiana. Could that happen?

    June 20, 2008 at 11:29 pm |
  5. Derryck S. Griffith

    June 20-2008:

    The Levee Problem In Mississippi & Louisiana!

    The reasons why these levees are breaking are for the following reasons.

    * The Mississippi river was prevented from flowing and meandering along a natural path, when it was dammed by levies.

    These levees were constructed to allow developers to build homes and other infrastructure for people to occupy, like farms, homes, and other dwellings.

    Because the river was not allowed to flow naturally, but was directed along a certain route, which was constructed for it to flow. Thus in turn caused the volume of water to rise to significant levels or heights.

    Even though these levees were built to prevent overflowing of the Mississippi, the volume of water creates severe pressure therein, thus putting more strain on these levies. And in time cause eruption or breakage.


    June 20, 2008 at 11:03 pm |
  6. Brian A. Thompson

    Although I feel the impact of the flooding along the Mississippi is a tragedy my focus is turned more toward lack of intelligence by both the people living in these flood plains and the Army Corps of Engineers. It seems to be a poor reflection on our country and our ability to live, build and do intellegent things. Almost every 10 – 20 years these plains are flooded due to a faulty design and excessive flooding. When will we invest in new technology to avoid these same problems? Or flat out refuse to live in a place that is subject to Mother Nature's wrath. In Japan they have solved their problems to yearly flooding in Tokyo by desiging an intelligent flood protection system that stores enormous amounts of water under ground. I guess we'll fall in line one day, just like the American auto makers have followed the engineering genius of Japan's auto makers.

    June 20, 2008 at 10:33 pm |
  7. Julie - Bahamas

    I am living on one of the out islands of the Bahamas for work and last October Tropical Storm Noel hit, flooding almost the entire 7mi X 50 mi island. Flooding like this is life changing to many and devastating to a community. My heart aches for the Dieterich's. I do know that our personal strenght pulls us through.

    June 20, 2008 at 8:54 pm |