Floods wipe out US crops
The crest of the swollen Mississippi River moved downstream yesterday as volunteers manned sandbagged levees and coped with the costs of the Midwest's worst flooding in 15 years. "At times like these you don't know whether to cry or laugh. But here in the Midwest we tend to favour the latter," said Charlotte Hoerr, who, with her husband Brent, farms land not far from the river in this small Missouri town.
The river overcame more than two dozen levees last week, submerging small towns and vast stretches of prime farmland as the nation's most vital waterway absorbed the run-off of torrential rains that put many Iowa towns under water. The Midwest flooding and storms are expected to push US and world food prices higher. Up to five million acres of newly planted crops have been lost at the heart of the world's top grain and food exporter. Prices for corn, cattle and pigs all set records this week owing to the floods, as a world economy already hit by inflation from rising energy prices absorbed the blow.
The spillage on to the Mississippi's vast flood plain covered thousands of acres of crops. But several days of dry weather this week cut water flows, as did the levee breaches. "It's starting to feel like the worst of the crisis has passed," said Blake Roderick, a Farm Bureau official in nearby Hannibal, the childhood home of the author Mark Twain. The river in Hannibal was expected to peak on Saturday at 28.2ft (8.6m), below the record of 31.8ft set in 1993.
President George Bush toured some of the devastation in Iowa on Thursday, and the White House said relief would be made available from the US$4bn (£2bn) in the government's disaster fund. Flood relief is becoming a political issue with an election looming. The Republican presidential candidate, John McCain, also toured Iowa on Thursday, while the Democratic candidate, Barack Obama, stacked sandbags in Quincy, Illinois.
"I've seen firsthand the growing magnitude of this flooding disaster, and unfortunately the end is not yet in sight," the Illinois Governor, Rod Blagojevich, said on Friday, adding that he had asked for faster aid for 20 flooded Illinois counties.
Don Rust, a farmer from Ursa, Illinois, estimated that cropland 13 miles long and six miles wide was flooded in his area. "It's a disaster, all right," said his wife Lisa, surveying the scene. "Welcome to the Midwest."
- 1 Husband and wife die holding hands within hours of each other after 67 years of marriage
- 2 What color is The Dress, white and gold or blue and black? An eyewitness gives a definitive answer
- 3 The remarkable archaeological underwater discovery that could open up a new chapter in the study of European and British prehistory
- 4 'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
- 5 Madonna claims jokes about her age tantamount to racism: 'No one would dare to say a degrading remark about being black'
Husband and wife die holding hands within hours of each other after 67 years of marriage
Mohammed Emwazi: Nine things we know about Isis militant 'Jihadi John'
What color is The Dress, white and gold or blue and black? An eyewitness gives a definitive answer
'Jihadi John': Mohammed Emwazi – from British computer programmer to Isis executioner
Madonna claims jokes about her age tantamount to racism: 'No one would dare to say a degrading remark about being black'
Oscars 2015: Birdman beats Boyhood as Eddie Redmayne and Patricia Arquette win big - as it happened
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
Half of Ukip voters say they are prejudiced against people of other races
'Cash for access' scandal: Sir Malcolm Rifkind says 'unrealistic' for MPs to live on £67,000 salary
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
Aqsa Mahmood branded a 'disgrace' by her parents after claims she recruited three UK girls flying to Middle East
salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...
£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Creative Front-End Developer - Claph...
£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The role in this successful eco...
£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000 QA Tes...