Americans along the Arkansas River are facing a slow-motion disaster as flooding inundates and displaces communities, causing millions in damage and mirroring havoc experienced in the Midwest, NBC News reports.
Fourteen people have died because of the historic floods that stretch from Arkansas and Oklahoma to Iowa and the Dakotas. The Missouri and Mississippi Rivers have burst through levees, destroyed communities and cost states billions of dollars. Meanwhile, the National Weather Service predicts the Arkansas River’s crest will set records in six cities across Arkansas over the next week.
As recent disasters add to a string of calamitous weather events, many across the country have looked to the federal government for crucial disaster aid — only to grow increasingly frustrated as partisan politics of Washington stalled a relief bill three times in less than a week. The delays came as three Republican lawmakers blocked votes to pass the bipartisan $19.1 billion disaster aid bill, most recently on Thursday. That last objection was voiced by Rep. John Rose of Kentucky, who said the spending was “another act of irresponsible big government.”
Meanwhile, Saturday is the first day of hurricane season, a difficult reminder that the line of those who need disaster relief funding grows longer by the day. From a hurricane that hit Panama City, Florida, to the wildfire that tore through Paradise, California, Americans living in towns hit by natural disasters all have one thing in common right now: There’s no money coming from Congress to help with rebuilding.