Thousands evacuate Minot, “We’re trying to help”

The worst flood in four decades has hit Minot, N.D. Water from the Souris River is predicted to begin pouring over dikes protecting the North Dakota city, which led authorities to order the evacuation of 12,000 people there, CNN reported.

Lew Lubka of Fargo spoke to People’s World about the disaster. “I feel terrible. But what can you do when you’ve got so much flooding? We do have a tremendous program – thousands of volunteers. We’re trying to help,” he added, mentioning that some people from Fargo are already in the Minot area doing their part.

He also said that there is a “billion dollar diversion” program being considered that would “take the water downstream.” But there’s an issue with that idea, he said: If the flow of water were diverted, it would then cause problems for the towns located in that direction. “People are gonna say ‘you’re gonna dump it on us?'”

Lubka’s Fargo home is one block from the Red River, which put him on the front line of the 2009 flood, and so he is quite familiar with this type of natural disaster. He said that North Dakota residents had “a routine on how to mobilize and deal with this.” Still, he reiterated, “There’s so much water,” and indicated that people are limited in what they can do during an ordeal like this.

Lubka, a World War II veteran and retired professor from N.D. State University, has lived in Fargo for 40 years, and has a radio program called Peace Talk Radio. He used to have relatives in Minot (about 200 miles away) , and so is familiar with the city.

So what was the reason for this flood and others like it?

“Climate change,”  Lubka replied. “Human activities have modified the ecosystem. The oceans are in danger of total disaster.”

And Lubka cited another, more dangerous, reason for incidents like this flood: “Capitalism. Capitalism doesn’t care about human beings, and it doesn’t care about the world. You know what I mean? All this is because of a focus on the bottom line, instead of people. This beautiful world is being destroyed by imperialism and a drive for profit. And I think that concern for the environment should be more important.” Lubka believes that the government needs to get its priorities straight, and added, “It just gets old.”

The harm done to Minot because of disregard for people is easily observed. Lubka referenced a piece from local paper Fargo Forum, to which he subscribes, and read that an 82 year-old woman, who experienced the flooding in 1969, stated that this current flood was indeed much worse. She said sadly, “We won’t have anything to come back to.”

Cecily Fong, spokeswoman for the North Dakota Department of Emergency Services, said that Minot, North Dakota’s fourth largest city, is at high risk because the Souris River flows right through it, and is expected to overwhelm levees in the area.

Meanwhile, secondary dikes built in Minot by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers won’t be able to withstand the rise of the river, said the Minot Daily News. Overall, water levels are expected to rise seven to eight feet higher than record levels seen in a flood during 1969.

Photo: Work on a temporary dike along the Souris River in northeast Minot, N.D., June 2, extremely close to homes. Kim Fundingslan/The Minot Daily News/AP



Blake Skylar
Blake Skylar

Blake is a writer and production manager, responsible for the assembly of the PW home page. He has earned awards from the IWPA and ILCA, and his articles have appeared in publications such as Workday Minnesota, EcoWatch, and Earth First News. He has covered issues including the BP oil spill in New Orleans and the 2015 U.N. Climate Conference in Paris.

He lives in Pennsylvania with his cat. He enjoys wine, books, music, and nature. In his spare time, he operates a channel on YouTube, creates artwork, and is writing a novel.