Devastation

So, here’s a few more images of Cedar Rapids:

It’s hard to know how this is playing in the media outside, what images and stories are making it into the larger world, but I hope it’s big. No, this is no Katrina with its horrible loss of life and there are no real political stories here (at least yet), but this is utter devastation. And the horrifying part is that the Iowa River hasn’t come close to cresting yet. Here in Cedar Rapids, the Cedar River is now starting to recede but it will be at least a week before it completely recedes; drinking water is at a critically low level and thousands will be without power for over a week. But we at least can see the extent of the flooding. In Iowa City, the extent is not quite fathomable yet. Both cities will reach record flooding that far surpasses the 1993 floods. Here in Cedar Rapids, the flood waters were a good 10 feet beyond original predictions. 2008 was named “The Year of the River,” a year to revitalize our downtown and turn to the river as its cornerstone. Little did we know that it would truly become the year of the river. The road to revitalization now is a long and tenuous road at best. The Paramount Theater, Theater Cedar Rapids, Legion Arts, Museum of Modern Art, the University, Hancher Theater all under water. Small businesses gone. Jobs evaporating. Whole neighborhoods of poor and working class citizens completely flooded out. Yes, the mantra is “we will get through this together,” but the realist in me doesn’t know what “getting through” in this context will really mean.

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3 Responses to “Devastation”

  1. Cal Says:

    Glenn. Just stumbled upon your blog looking for updates from Cedar Rapids. Your comments and concerns awakens thoughts of my own, having spent a year and a half at Coe College in the seventies, completing a RAGBRAI event a few years ago, and currently making New Orleans my second home (where the present day conditions remain atrocious, an eyesore, and a huge embarrassment, IMHO). But this is not my story or New Orleans’. Best of luck weathering the wet conditions in Iowa. My thoughts are with you, the few friends I have still in CR, and all your neighbors who are dealing with this huge event. And please keep blogging. Thanks!

  2. Nancy Says:

    Thank you for your posting. I was also searching for news. Having grown up in Center Point and then living in Cedar Rapids on my own for ten years I’m so sad to see all this devastation. I’m also frustrated at not being able to do anything to help. I live in Washington DC now (Cedar Rapids was on the front page of the Washington Post yesterday to answer your question about media coverage). If you see any good organization that sprouts up to help could you let me know? I’m a graphic designer/writer and also make T-shirts or whatever is needed. Thank you.
    Nancy Michaels
    walkingsatellite@hotmail.com

  3. GJF Says:

    Cal and Nancy, thanks for your thoughts. I’m happy to say that the waters have receded more quickly than anticipated, but of course this is just the beginning of a long, long recovery (as you are more than aware Cal, being in New Orleans). Nancy, there are organizations mobilizing to funnel help into the area, but I’m sorting through them to see what seems most useful–I’ll let you know though!

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