I had a chance to attend a meeting (actually I presented about wind energy) near Cedar Rapids. I arrived about a half-hour early and was curious about the recovery after the 500 year flood in 2008. I was struck at the lack of progress in recovery – still blocks of abandoned homes.
You can still see the water lines on the door in the first house.
The next house down the block. The neighborhoods were eerily quiet. No sidewalks shoveled, no cars parked in the street – quiet. I thought of all the effort that people had put into the houses in the 10 square miles that flooded – all in a zone that was never expected to flood. I thought about Katrina and the differences – although the loss of habitation in the neighborhoods is similar, residents of Cedar Rapids did not live with the fact that their homes were below sea level. I can imagine the critters and the like that have moved into these houses with broken windows, and holes in the walls.
The video above is from a web site, the Cedar Rapids Flood Story that tells of the progress and frustrations of falling out of the national news cycle.
The city is stuck with a 5.5 billion dollar repair bill, and has received about 0.3 billion in aid. All the politician’s speeches the days after the flood, were just that – photo ops. The city now faces an unprecedented loss of tax revenue (75% of downtown businesses remain closed) as a result of homes and businesses off the tax rolls, along with a recession, and an unprecedented repair bill. People of Iowa do not need to to travel to other countries or New Orleans for mission trips as long as Cedar Rapids remains is disarray.