LEARNING FROM THE MISSISSIPPI FLOOD OF 1993:
IMPACTS, MANAGEMENT ISSUES AND AREAS FOR RESEARCH
Gerald E. Galloway, Jr.
Dean of the Faculty and Academic Programs
Industrial College of the Armed Forces
National Defense University
Washington, DC 20319, USA
Throughout the Summer and Fall of 1993, the people throughout the world with access to the Cable News [television] Network (CNN) were shown scenes of the devastation brought on the Midwestern part of the United States by what became known as the “Great Mississippi Flood 1993”. Since the early days of the 20th century, the United States had labored to reduce the vulnerability of population to flood damages and yet this flood had destroyed tens of thousands of homes, flooded hundreds of thousands of acres of prime farmland, and had disrupted the economic and social fabric of several million people. National leaders as well as private citizens not only raised questions about how such flood damages occurred, but demanded to know what should be done to prevent recurrences of these damages. This paper discusses the 1993 flood in terms of its extent and its impacts on the affected region and its populace and describes the conclusions reached by a White House based Interagency Floodplain Management Review Committee as to the causes of the flood, and management of the floodplain both in the Mississippi basin and nation-wide. It concludes with a discussion of the Review Committee’s recommendations concerning research that should be conducted to reduce the potential for repetition of similar natural disasters.