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.
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.
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.
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.
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.