Forum editorial: Flood recovery requires patienceNerves rubbed raw by the stress of fighting flooding in Fargo and Moorhead can’t take much more. But as the long and uneven cleanup proceeds, they must endure a little more.
Nerves rubbed raw by the stress of fighting flooding in Fargo and Moorhead can’t take much more. But as the long and uneven cleanup proceeds, they must endure a little more.
It hasn’t taken long for receding flood waters to expose frustration and anger. Emotions held in check by the cooperative spirit of the flood fight are letting loose. The extent of personal losses and the perceived delay in the cleanup have become fuel for simmering anger.
The shift – or evolution – from neighborly cooperation to bitter finger-pointing should come as no surprise. It’s a typically human reaction to loss after a natural disaster passes. The situation is all the more exacerbated because the cleanup is slower and in many ways more complicated than sandbagging against the raging Red River.
We counsel patience, please.
The stress to be visited on Fargo, Moorhead and other communities in the next few weeks will be multiplied by several factors. In addition to the disturbance caused by 24/7 removal of clay levees and sandbag dikes, the disruption of normal traffic patterns will continue. Delayed morning and afternoon commutes, while tolerated during the flood fight, will be less welcome during the flood cleanup. City streets which normally suffer some winter wear and tear, are especially torn up this spring because of heavy equipment traffic during the flood, which will continue during the cleanup. Broken pavement, potholes more like craters and slippery and caked mud will make driving around town a challenge for a long time.
In the neighborhoods that were most threatened by floodwaters, yards, lawns and trees were ripped up by truck traffic and thousands of footfalls of volunteer sandbaggers. The extent of the damage became evident when the snow melted. Repairs to public and private property will be expensive and
None of it means homeowners and others do not appreciate the extraordinary effort the community put forth to fight the flood. But thankfulness for the help cannot mitigate fully the personal, family and business fallout among people who just want to get back to some sense of normalcy. The process of repair – whether emotional, financial or negotiating the bureaucracy – will take time, and not everyone will be made whole.
The campaign to restore city streets, schoolyards and parks, and to remove the muddy reminders of the flood effort, also will take time. The mess will make getting from here to there frustrating and sometimes infuriating.
The people of flood-threatened and flood-ravaged cities stood together to fight the flood. The next test is holding on to at least some of that spirit during recovery.
Forum editorials represent the opinion of Forum management and the newspaper’s Editorial Board.