I Am Nebraska Strong

 

If you live in the United States, chances are that you’ve heard about the devastating flooding that’s basically destroyed the western half of Nebraska. If you haven’t, you’re about to. My family comes from Nebraska- I have cousins, aunts, and uncles out that way. Not only do I have blood relatives out there, but my extended family is that way. I’m talking about farmers, ranchers, and anybody in the agricultural sector. They are my family. They are my past, present, and future. However, with the flooding that’s happening, there may not be a future anymore.

Spencer Dam

The ruins of Spencer Dam

March 2019 is going to be known as one of the most gutwrenching months in farming history. That’s because much of western Nebraska, and parts of Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota and South Dakota are under 4+ feet of water. There are so many factors at play to the flooding. The first is the massive snowstorm that hit, dropping 4+ feet of snow in just a day or two- the bomb cyclone. The next is that it was very warm for the next following few days, melting a ton of that water. Then temperatures dropped, freezing everything in its path. Lastly, dams shattered from the weight behind their walls, drowning surrounding towns and cities in water. Rivers overflowed. Roads are gone. Animals and people are trapped. Animals and people are dead. Livelihoods are gone.

elkhorn and platte river homestead

Elkhorn/Platte River homestead lost

A brief estimate of agriculture damage is upwards of $1 BILLION. That’s livestock, crops, silo’s full of grain that are now destroyed from the water. There isn’t even an estimated cost of damages to roads, houses, or the hundreds of cities that have been affected by the water. Roads are completely gone, and people and animals alike are stranded and will be for days until the waters recede.

feedlot underwater cattle on island

What used to be a feedlot is completely submerged. Islands of cattle will be stranded until waters recede. No help will come to the cattle.

The people and animals that survived the storm frantically search for higher ground. Animals that don’t normally swim (cattle, horses, etc.) are swimming to islands. People who didn’t evacuate are climbing onto roofs. People are being evacuated via helicopter, boat, and even tractors.

genoa, nebraska

A small bridge near Genoa, Nebraska is destroyed.

washed out road in nebraska

Many roads now look like this.

roads buckle and collapse under the water

Roads are collapsing and buckling from the water damage

ice chunk near Niobrara with grown man

Ice chunk near Niobrara, Nebraska with full grown man standing next to it. Many of these ice chunks are in fields, in homes, and on roads.

helicopter

Helicopter surveying damage and looking for survivors.

crete NE Big Blue River.jpg

Crete, Nebraska at Big Blue River

resue by airboat

People being rescued by airboat.

tractors.jpg

Tractors carrying people to safety. One man lost his life as his tractor was taken underwater. He was carrying people to dry ground.

saving horses.jpg

Freemont, Nebraska. Civilians rescuing horses.

unnamed man and dog

An unnamed man and his cocker spaniel look on at the destruction around them.

People tend to laugh at farming communities because we’re “hillbilly” and “weird”. News outlets aren’t covering the damage here. Whether that’s because they don’t want to, don’t see the destruction, or just blatantly don’t care, I CARE. A few years ago, massive fires burned through these very states, destroying growing crops and livestock in its wake. The farmers and ranchers in those areas are still recovering from that loss. And now they will have to deal with this loss.

How can they continue on when they lose everything while not being able to turn a profit?

They won’t. Many ranchers are going to have to leave, take the destruction as the final salute, and lead new lives elsewhere. The damage here is nearly beyond repair. But there IS hope. Because of the damage- much like the fires that graced these lands not that long ago- the community is rallying around those that need help. Thousands of tons of goods are being donated as we speak to the area. Thousands of tons of hay, feed, blankets, and anything else an animal could want are arriving daily.

While I, in England, am unable to do anything for them directly, I sure as hell can spread the word and ask for prayers. I am Nebraska strong.

Man dog.jpg

A Nebraska man and his dog after being rescued. Note the dog treats in the basket.

 

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4 thoughts on “I Am Nebraska Strong

  1. Some places In India we too have to have to face such devastating floods almost every year…it isn’t easy to resettle thing all over again after such mass destruction. And more over the fear of getting hit by it again never leaves them in peace.

    Liked by 1 person

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