STATE AND LOCAL police, firefighters and other first responders in the Midlands have been working around the clock since Sunday morning, and there’s no let-up in sight.
Scores of roads and bridges are closed. Many of the roads that remain open have been tested severely and don’t need the added pressure of too much traffic at one time.
The water throughout Richland County and much of Lexington County remains unsafe to drink unless it’s boiled, and the water system is struggling mightily even to provide a constant supply of contaminated water.
Emergency workers are still pulling bodies out of the floodwaters.
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USC-LSU game will be played in Baton Rouge
With the Columbia area still overwhelmed by this week’s heavy rain and flooding, the University of South Carolina was right to move Saturday’s scheduled home game against Louisiana State University to the Tigers’ home stadium in Baton Rouge, La.
USC really had no choice.
Of course, there are lots of times when it seems clear to everyone else that people have no choice, and yet they make the wrong choice. That’s one reason two more people drowned in floodwaters early Wednesday, two days after the rain stopped falling: They made the tragic decision to drive around police barricades into a road washed out by floodwaters.
No doubt some would have preferred the game still be played in Columbia. The Gamecocks give up home-field advantage to the No. 7-ranked Bayou Bengals. The team will have to make last-minute travel arrangements. Fans looking for a little escape from reality will be disappointed. And local hotels and restaurants that aren’t affected by the flooding may miss out on significant revenue.
But playing the game in Columbia this week would have been irresponsible. So good for USC President Harris Pastides for making the call, and good for Athletics Director Ray Tanner and Coach Steve Spurrier for supporting the decision. It was the right call.
It was a call that recognized it is unfair for any of us to do anything the least bit frivolous that would put extra strain on our exhausted first-responders. It was the call that recognized we are one community, and that while most of us survived the deluge and the flood with only the most minor of inconveniences, many of our friends and neighbors are suffering tremendously. It was the call that recognized that the Midlands is still a very dangerous place to be driving around.
Photos: Scenes Wednesday in aftermath of historic flood
It’s a call that other public and private entities should keep in mind as they consider whether to go forward or cancel upcoming events. It’s a call that we all ought to keep in mind — for at least a few more days and maybe a little longer — as we go about our daily lives: limiting our travel, taking more precautions than we usually would when we do have to travel, limiting our water usage if we’re on the Columbia water system.
The floods have tested us, they are testing us, and they will continue to test us. We will come through this, because we are one community. In difficult times we usually make the right calls, as USC did Wednesday. But we are not through this yet. All of us, and particularly those of us who were spared the worst of the storm, need to remember that in all that we do.