Help our fellow citizens
Gov. Nikki Haley, (Adjutant General Bob) Livingston and other state and local emergency officials surely have helped decrease the loss of life by staying on top of the evolving natural disaster. From before the floods hit, they were warning people to take shelter, stay off the roads and not risk their lives. First responders proved once again why they are considered such heroes as they rushed to help evacuate people who were in dangerous situations. DOT employees have worked much overtime, often in dangerous situations themselves, to help stranded drivers and, as much as possible, keep roads open for travel.
The financial losses will be in the billions in our state. The potential for further destruction will not have ended until the last fragile dam expels the water collected from what is being called a 1,000-year flood and the last vulnerable bridge has been checked out and certified as capable of holding vehicles.
Our state will be forced to repair parts of a highway system that already was crumbling. State residents will have to pull together, as they did for years after Hurricane Hugo, to help neighbors find new houses and cars, and South Carolina rebuild from such terrible losses. President Barack Obama telephoned Gov. Haley soon after the scope of the disaster became apparent. South Carolina will need the federal aid coming its way, and state residents should demand that their elected representatives never forget how dependent all 50 states are on each other when such tragedy strikes.
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For now, South Carolinians not affected by the floods are looking for ways to help. …
In the meantime, some easy and safe ways to donate are: Red Cross Disaster Relief at redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions may be made to The Salvation Army: text STORM to 51555, call 1-800-SALARMY, or visit salvationarmycarolinas.org/flood.
Let wetlands do their job
Plans for extending Interstate 526 involve destroying as much as 17 acres of wetlands. Major flooding on Main Road last month raised new concerns about overdevelopment on Johns Island. Some residents whose homes flooded near the newly-built Palmetto Commerce Parkway in North Charleston during last weekend’s storm blamed excess runoff on road construction. And tens of thousands of new residences planned for the Lowcountry could dramatically increase the amount of impervious surface.
Other East Coast cities like Miami and New York have comprehensive plans to prepare for rising sea levels. Those plans call for levees, pumps, sea walls and billions of dollars of infrastructure investment.
Charleston should begin creating a detailed long-term plan of its own.
In the meantime, action must be taken to limit the impact of new development on ecosystems that mitigate flooding.
Natural buffers held back high seas for millennia in the Lowcountry. We should continue to let them do so whenever possible.
Post & Courier
S.C. needs federal aid
Seeking aid from around the federal government only makes sense to rebuild after the flooding. This shouldn’t be a test of someone’s political principles. (Sen. Lindsey) Graham, for instance, has been criticized for his support for aid to his home state after he voted to oppose similar help for New Jersey in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in 2013. That criticism may be warranted, but this shouldn’t impact the eventual outcome of aid to South Carolina.
The resources of our state are clearly being drained. Thousands were left without power. Some residents have houses that are under water. Bridges, dams and roads have been wrecked. Cars have been destroyed. And the most important and devastating of it all is that lives have been lost.
The state will hopefully come out stronger from this disaster. However, aid from the federal government will make those efforts more manageable.
To echo Graham’s comments, there’s no substitute for neighbor helping neighbor. However, there is a clear role for the government to play here as our state recovers.