Richard Nixon photo

Statement Following an Inspection Flight Over Flooded Areas in Mississippi, Arkansas, and Louisiana.

April 27, 1973

AS THE Missouri and Mississippi Rivers and their tributaries have ravaged large areas of the Midwest and South with record-breaking floods during the past 6 weeks, I have followed the situation with great concern. and have taken steps to ensure that maximum Federal assistance is available to those who have suffered.

This morning I have made a low-level airplane flight over the swollen headwaters of the Yazoo River in Mississippi and from there west to the Mississippi River and downstream to Vicksburg. From the air, we were able to view heavily affected portions of three States--Mississippi, southeastern Arkansas, and northeastern Louisiana--not closely enough to see the full dimensions of this tragedy, but enough to gain a better idea of the magnitude of the damage being done.

Preliminary estimates covering all eight States hit by the floods, including Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana, indicate that some $147.5 million in property damage has already occurred. Agricultural areas are particularly hard-hit. The situation is expected to remain serious through mid-June, particularly in Louisiana and here in Mississippi.

To deal with this emergency, Federal agencies have been mobilized to assist State and local governments in the most massive flood-fighting effort of this century.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers deserves considerable credit for its performance. So far the Corps has provided materials and assistance for flood mitigation and prevention amounting to $24 million. It is estimated that close to $6 billion in additional damage might have resulted this spring if extensive flood control works had not been previously constructed through combined private and government efforts.

I have already issued major disaster declarations for Missouri, Illinois, and Mississippi. Today, I am declaring Arkansas and Louisiana disaster areas as well.

I can assure all of the people who live in the stricken areas that full Federal assistance will be provided as long as needed. Because farmers have often borne the brunt of the damage, I have asked Secretary of Agriculture Earl Butz to make a special inspection tour of the Mississippi Valley from Moline, Illinois, south to Greenville, Mississippi, during his trip to the Midwest next week. He will report his findings to me upon his return to Washington. I have also directed the Acting Director of the Office of Emergency Preparedness, Darrell Trent, to continue working closely with the Governors of all the flood-affected States as he has been doing since the beginning of the emergency and to keep me personally informed.

Countless acts of heroism and sacrifice have been performed by the people of Mississippi and the other States hit by floods this spring, and remarkable resourcefulness in the face of adversity has been shown by the various State and local governments here in the region. I am confident that the people and communities concerned can and will make a strong comeback from this tragedy, and I pledge full Federal support for their recovery and rebuilding efforts.

Note: The statement was released at Meridian, Miss.

Richard Nixon, Statement Following an Inspection Flight Over Flooded Areas in Mississippi, Arkansas, and Louisiana. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

Filed Under


Simple Search of Our Archives