Friday, June 30, 2006

Don't drink the water

It’s impossible to escape the after-effects of the mighty deluge that befell Mohawk Valley this past week. Taking a ride west on Route 5 really hammers this point home. While there doesn’t appear to be many deaths from the swelling of the Mohawk, there are hundreds, if not thousands of lives and livelihoods that have literally been swept away by the surging river.

But for the Times Union –a paper that is often on top of gripping regional tragedies like white on rice –this point has seemingly flown right over the heads of their stalwart news crew. Instead of venturing out from the relatively comfortable confines of the Capital Region to see the devastation, they reported about forlorn yachters and how the flooded areas might affect the tourism of Saratoga Springs.

Yes, there’s a handful of “pleasure-cruisers” who won’t be able to regale aboard their Dutch trawlers this weekend on the Hudson. These boaters are faced with roughing it in Waterford, where they can only go on sightseeing ventures with local officials and look forward to an evening potluck with their cohorts.

Of course, all those people who had banked on fireworks this weekend in Scotia will have to scramble through their calendars and blackberries to figure out alternate plans for grandma and the kids. Untold tragedy, it seems.

Had these reporters traveled west past the Schenectady County line, perhaps they would have realized the real story, people crammed in high school gymnasiums, flood waters submerging whole downtown regions in Fort Plain and Canajohaire; entire communities shut off from both the grid and the outside world for days in the sweltering heat.

For many of these people, the term “skin of our teeth” comes to mind. And that was before the flood. They still don’t know what’s become of their homes, submerged in more than six feet of water that’s likely more toxic than raw sewage. There are businesses that may never reopen and homes that will never be rebuilt. Some farmers have lost at least a years’ worth of crops, if not more, given the toxic water on their fields.

As the flood waters subside in the days ahead, it’s not too hard to envision a public health travesty in the making, with hundreds of thousands of stagnant water pools in this vastly rural area that could become a breeding ground for disease. Can you say West Nile virus?

It should be noted for the Times Union reporters, however; most of these people didn’t loose their yachts. Let’s just overlook the fact many of them were too poor to own flood insurance, much less a floating castle.

With no less than eight by-lines attached to Friday's article, one would think that at least one of these reporters would have thought to go westward, where the real tragedy is swirling. Shame on you pompous bastards for not reporting that story.

Editor's note: The illustrious reporters from the Times Union did finally make their way out to the Mohawk Valley to report the carnage --more than three days after the fact. And while they were quick to make mention of a business manufacturer, they didn't mention much about the trailer park abutting the Mohawk River in Fonda, or the destroyed sewer infrastructure in St. Johnsville, to list off a few areas of tragedy .

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

cheers

10:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And far afield - John Sweeney was stumping the FEMA cause in Delaware County....What the heck ?!?!

8:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love the story. I have a house and business in Fort Plain that got flooded. The state $5000 grant program is nice but it is miniscule to replace what people have lost. That will barely replace the heat and electric system lost from cellar flooding. What about the people who had the water over the 1st floor or the numerous condemmed houses?
How about tapping into the states 3.5 billion dollar surplus? Hillary and Schumer crawled out of downstate for an photo op but where is the FEMA (Feeble Emergency Mismanagment Agency)dollars? The story changes every day on what is available and the info from the help line does not jibe with the news stories. It's time the elected officials get off their butts and make something happen!

8:27 AM  

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