De ja vu all over again
Welcome to Sandbag Central where everyone from all over the state and even the country has come to Fargo-Moorhead to help out for this year’s flood. Two years have passed since the last major flood, and it looks like city officials are once again calling on the students to give them a helping hand. These are all just part of another spring for people in the Red River Valley.
Students play Superman role
In 2009, school was canceled due to flooding. Students who came to campus and didn’t know it was canceled were put on a bus and transported to areas that needed help. Many of the students in the Fargo-Moorhead area could put an “S” on the front of their shirts because it was their responsibility to report to hundreds of sandbagging sites and help save our community. This year is different, however, with classes still being held. And, if the campus is shut down because of severe flooding almost every class turns into an online class.
Cold, exhausted, hungry and frustrated
The biggest struggle residents had in 2009 was the environment we were working in. My roommate and I made our way to MSUM to sign in as flood-fighting volunteers. We got there at 11 a.m. The temperature was in the teens, and there was blowing wind and snow. It was cold enough to make a person’s fingers numb. We were then transported to different locations to help out. After a while, the shovel began to scrape on my hands. The wounds were so bad I had to stop working and go inside to do a little first aid to my hand. About 4 p.m., we began to get hungry and sore. Our group wanted to go back to MSUM so we could get our cars and some food. When the bus came to pick us up, I remember hearing the bus driver say, “We need more people down south.” What was I supposed to do? Get shipped to a new location and be angry at the way this process was going? My roommate and I had done all that we could so we called a friend to come pick us up. Exhausted, we were finished for the day. Other students on the bus seemed to feel the same way after struggling with the cold, wind and now exhaustion and hunger.
“My hands were so cold I could barely hold the bags and what we did is take turns holding the bags and pouring the sand in the bags with the shovel,” said NDSU student Tom Jangula. “We played a game with the other sandbaggers and it was who can fill a pallet faster and correctly, we won.”
Courtesy by USA Today Fargo Flooding in 2009
Taking baby steps
Since the 09’ flood, Fargo and Moorhead have been in discussion trying to create a diversion channel that would send the Red River’s overflow around the two towns, much like the flood protection West Fargo enjoys from the Sheyenne Diversion. In the meantime, what they have come up with is building “Sandbag Central,” or what the riverside residents of Fargo-Moorhead call “hope.” Some of the bigger sandbags filled at Sandbag Central will be placed around the city of Fargo in new sandbag holders.
We may be running out of ‘fight’
So, it’s once again April, and city officials are ready to fight the river again. We did it before and we can do it again, but how many times do we need to say that until someone steps up and finds a solution to the problem? Grand Forks figured out a way, and so did West Fargo. Even if we do figure out a solution for Fargo-Moorhead’s flooding, are we creating more problems for surrounding areas?
This year we win a real weather ‘prize’
Thanks to our flood fighting, dangerous winters and below-zero temperatures The Weather Channel has awarded us the title of toughest/worst city in the United States. Is it an honor? Or is it a way for others to look down on us for because we live here? Yes, Fargo is a great place to live, but it can be a struggle from November through March or April. Fargo allows one to spend summer the way it should be spent; with friends and family enjoying the outdoors. But in order to get to those nice days we must stop our enemy: H2O.
‘WE WANT YOU’
Once again, it’s time to get back out and fight to save our town. In the next few days the river will crest at about 39 feet, according to the National Weather Service. In 2009 the Red River hit 41 feet. Another two years, another flood, another call for student help. How many years will students be called on to help out? When will city officials have a solution to control the Red River?
(Edited by Ryan Ellingson, mass communications major)