Farmland and lives under water

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May 29, 2011 - 7:00pm

When a river is unleashed, you've got no choice but to stand back. And that's what the farmers in the southeastern corner of Missouri are doing as they grapple with the aftermath of a man-made and natural disaster. " I figure that anything that I can't have control over there's no sense in worrying about it. So some things I can't do anything about. I can't do anything about them blowing that levee. You know, we'll make it, we'll survive," explained Ed Marshall, who farms about 2,000 acres of wheat, corn and soybean in this floodplain by the Mississippi River. In the first week of May, the Army Corp of Engineers blasted open the levees on the Missouri side of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers to release swelling waters that were threatening to spill over floodwalls at Cairo, Ill.

Today, weeks later, the levees are still open, and the river keeps flowing in. About 130,000 acres of farmland are under water.

Turns out when a flood this big happens accessing the damaged area can be tricky. One: You can drive a truck in as far as possible before water reaches the tops of tires. Choice number two: a boat that skips over the waves that cover farm equipment, dead crops and animals. Or, if you meet the right people, you can view the damage from a helicopter in perhaps the only peaceful place after destruction the air.

Jessica Naudziunas, of Harvest Public Media, did all three as she explored a very muddy Mississippi County with farmers and others trying to figure out what to do next.

Listen to a podcast of her journey and see pictures and more, at Harvest Public Media

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