Fighting the Flood

I spent Thursday and Friday in Southeast Missouri covering the flooding and following the Missouri National Guard as they fought the rising waters. This is also the edit for my final Picture Story assignment, a story on the National Guard’s fight. The first image is meant to be separate from the rest, but still contributes to the story.

Specialist Chris Mitchell pauses while waiting for the next sandbag to be passed to him while the 1140th Engineers Battalion works to create a barrier from the flood water to protect a sewage lift station in Morehouse on Thursday, April 28, 2011. Missouri National Guard soldiers from across the state were called into duty to help the people of South East Missouri. Originally expecting to stay just a few days, with flood waters continuing to rise and the likely demolition of the Birds Point levee, they no longer know how long they will stay.

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A levee holds back the Mississippi River from spilling more water into Missouri on Friday April 29, 2011. Heavy spring rains and a wet winter has caused some of the worst flooding Southeast Missouri has seen causing the loss of home and property for thousands.

Sitting on sandbags attempting to decrease the amount of water entering the Morehouse bank, David Terrell, left, and John Launius, right, joke and relax after filling sandbags on Thursday, April 28, 2011. Morehouse city officials requested the aid of the Missouri National Guard after the water entering the town became clearly uncontrollable. National Guard units were sent in from the surrounding areas to patrol the town and work in the sandbagging effort.

Heading to dry land to wait for the next truck of sandbags, Specialist Chris Mitchell and other soldiers of the 1140th Engineers Battalion wade through waist deep water in Morehouse, MO Thursday, April 28, 2011. Water began entering the town late Wednesday night, by 11:00 am Thursday the water level was rising approximately 8 inches an hour.

Second Lieutenant Raj Cherian meets with other soldiers in the Military Police unit to discuss the locations of road blocks in Mississippi County meant to block access to flooded country on Thursday, April 28, 2011. The Mississippi County sheriff issued a mandatory evacuation Friday for the section of the county to be effected by the proposed Army Core of Engineers levee demolition of the Birds Point levee on the Mississippi river.

Aiding the people of Morehouse, Sargent Shawn Wehner along with the other soldiers of the 1140th Engineers Battalion helps pass sandbags to be taken to protect essential parts of the city of Morehouse on Thursday, April 28, 2011. The exact reason for why the water was rising so fast in Morehouse was difficult to determine, but the National Guard, the people of Morehouse and surrounding communities worked to fill, transport and place sandbags and help their neighbors evacuate their homes.

The members of the the 1140th Engineers Battalion fight to hold up a falling wall of sandbags while attempting to secure a sewage lift station in Morehouse on Thursday, April 28, 2011. The water continued to rise into the night in Morehouse, most of the town was underwater by Friday afternoon and other towns were beginning to flood.

Specialist Matthew Offermann, left, and PFC Stephen Brandon, right, attempt to sleep after returning from their 12 hour shift manning road blocks to the Missouri National Guard headquarters set up in the Sikeston Armory on Friday morning, April 29, 2011. The National Guard set up check points along a second levee preventing residents from entering the part of Mississippi County that will be flooded if the Army Core of Engineers proceeds with their demolition of the Birds Point levee in an effort to protect the town of Cairo, Ill. at the expense of 130,000 acres of Missouri farm land and displacing over 200 people.

Thank you to the Missouri National Guard for all their help and the work they have done helping the residents of Southeast Missouri.

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