« Reveal

Families Splintered Apart, by Government and by Storms

2018-07-07 | 🔗

This week, we continue our ongoing investigation into what happens to immigrant children after they’re detained by the U.S. government. Our latest story investigates a vacant office building being used by a defense contractor to house children.

Then, we travel to the Gulf Coast to learn why last year was the costliest hurricane season on record. In Houston, we discover that homes flooded by Hurricane Harvey were actually built inside a reservoir.

We end on the Louisiana coast, where officials say they can no longer provide protection to homes most vulnerable to flooding, and that residents will have to abandon them.

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Hey it is your favorite host in all of pod custom. Now for the rest of the year, I'm gonna be asking you to join us by becoming a member of reveal reveal is all about going deep, pulling on threads telling stories that matter for more than three years now reveal has been fighting a lawsuit. That's been jeopardizing our very existence of restore, we about an organization called planet aid. Our story raises serious questions about whether international aid was actually reaching the people. It was intended to help and what's more, our story was truthful and we stand by it. We believe it is our duty to fight attacks like this, but fighting a lawsuit comes at a huge costs. Are legal fees alone totalled more than seven million dollars? Luckily we have pro bono legal support to help our in house counsel, but it still takes significant resources, resources that should be used to do more public service journalists. This kind of investigative
it takes time and it cost money. If you believe in the work, we do the absolute best way to support us is by becoming a member of reveal to do it just text. The word reveal two hundred and forty seven, four thousand seven hundred and forty seven standard data rates apply and you can text stop or cancel at any time. Also all new members who donate at least five dollars a month. We get our facts, t shirt again just text. The word reveal two hundred and forty seven, four thousand seven hundred and forty seven and all you who already support our work, I would offer a deep sincere thanks. We can't do this work without being willing afforded twenty twenty. We have big things plan, so let's go to some good work together from the centre for investigative reporting. In p, ex. This is reveal a mallet we're starting today show with a story about the Trump administrations immigration policy. Two weeks ago we devoted
entire, our family separations. That was after news, broke that border officials were taken children away from their mothers and fathers, so the parents can be prosecuted for entering the country without author Zation vis sparked an outcry so loud. They forced president Trump to announce an end to this practice. Since then our newsroom has stayed on story reporting or what the federal It is doing and where the kids are ending up, our immigration reporter out of Bergamo has warned that now I oughta hair. So what story you have forced today? This next story actually came to from a tip there's a young woman in Phoenix who observed some really unusual activity and she sent us a video, and it was so disturbing to some of us here in the newsroom that I decided to book a flight the next morning to go out and visit her ammunition video in a little bit. But let me introduce you to her. First look at her
miss Leanna, Dunlap she's, a twenty five year old teaching assistant for children with autism in Phoenix. She lives in this for plaques apartment in the camel Back EAST Village, neighbourhood, hi, I'm out a really nice to meet you. The video that she sent us has to do with this office. Building right next door. Apartment, so I knew that it was next door based on what she told us and in the video that she shared, but when I got there and they looked out the window, it's like right there, it's like five feet away, always so I moved in February and the Building, was vacant up and tall, probably the end of may and noticed a bunch of the white bans in the driveway, maybe like five to ten and and the like.
New Business- and I didn't think that much- I bet it so. One story: grave Brick office building the window, are impossible to see through their tinted and their reflective see, can't really see. What's going on inside and there's no signage, there's no sign, saying hey! This is with operating inside this building its totally unmarked, but something caught her attend. In early June. One day I was home and I looked out the window and I saw to vans, pull up and I was just standing here. I was doing something in the kitchen, so I was just kind of watching what she saw. The next really bothered her and Alex Problem A lot easier, if I just show you the video that she sent us she record, this video, the following day on the fifth of June, when the same thing happened again,
there's no sound. So, let's just talk through what we're seeing out loud because will start at three two one brides I see gentlemen, getting out of the van, and he is marching wagon group of kids. You see other kids, either little toddler looks like she's pie, not old enough to walk home, and then is maybe like a four year old size was maybe maybe eight year old boy and there's more and they're all dressed in blue, like it's almost like a uniform and yeah. Ok, so the older kids have different sort of sweats like they have gray and white, and blue and white, with a little kids had. A blue sweats and you'll notice that those raw boys yeah. I know it's, let's posit, if we can, they
kids, all sort of seem solemn you'll see how often they're kind of looking down on the ground. They don't seem to interact much if at all, with the adults who dressed in regular civilian clothes around them yeah and its legal. In this line of there's one two, three four five, six, seven, eight nine ok together from the videos that we ve seen. We counted thirty two kids, one neighbours says that its as many as forty Leanna describes that over time she saw as many as eighty care its go into this office building, and then what I mean did you ever see them come out
Billina and other neighbours that I spoke with didn't see. Any children leave this building for almost three weeks. She did see supplies going in. There were baby and booster seeds, pilots of water, big boxes of snacks, like chips and fruit, snacks going in and she also but she saw workers come by one day. I saw them installing the lock, on the doors in the cameras and that's kind it. When I was like a case. Thing fishy really is going on here. She shared with me a text, it's a text. She sent her husband and she said, I think something Really weird is going on here. I think these kids are being trafficked Leanna and her husband hung Carlos but eventually go outside and confront a few of the workers in the parking lot. They asked them. What is this business? What's going on here? One of the guys use to my husband? He said, I'm sorry, I can't talk about it. I'm sorry, I'm sorry! I
tell you what's happening and that was it. A lot of times I witches stare out my window waiting to see something and or late at night. I would go out my backyard and just look at that window waiting to see if I could hear any anger, or see any lights and just like if there are kids in there and they have those windows. They're not even seeing sunlight and how long had them in their there's been times. I drive by, and I just start crying because you know it's right behind my house- and I don't know, I think, that's for its part, is not knowing what is actually going on in there and just helping
they're, ok,. This is where you are reporting came in, so what did you find at about. What's going on at his office building out, I want to take you through all that we know the first of all the building is least by a company called envy. I'm in separated their based of Virginia and they have a five year lease on this property? They just signed it in March. That's one month before attorney General Jeff sessions announced the zero tolerance policy. That's the policy that resulted in children being taken away from there. Parents at the border to rebuild this company envy Emily, who are they envy M, is a huge government contractor. The company itself was founded by former secret service agents. That's its origin, its vice president he's a former CIA agents and they ve been doing work for the federal government for the Department of Homeland Security that Department of Defense further justice. Apart
For more than thirty years, they ve been paid two hundred and forty eight million dollars by ice. That's immigration and customs enforcement to transport immigrant children. Since twenty fourteen, How does embryo explain what they're doing with this building we called envy him. The company would agree. To be recorded. But a spokesperson did tell us that the building- and I quote- is not a shelter or a child care facility. It's a temporary holding place, that's what they refer to it. As a temporary holding place. The company said that the building is used to hold children being flown. The Phoenix Airport. They declined to answer our questions about how many hours or days the children were being held. Their eyes told us it's not an overnight facility and envy em said its intended to hold children for a few hours before they take a flight out,
but when we asked if the children were sleeping there, they said they couldn't confirm. If children had slept there overnight, they also it and tell us how many other unknown unmasked unmarked facilities like this one operate in Phoenix or other cities? What we do know is that envy am, does operate nationwide The way to know what's going on inside the building like what conditions might have been for these kids yeah, we ve seen flora plans for them building, there's what looks like a main office area and then a handful of individual offices and then to bathrooms, with what looks like toilets and sinks. There's no kitchen and there are no showers, and we don't know where the kids woods weep. We also know that the least says that the premises Campi used for sleeping Campi is for lodging and can be used for cooking. It also mentioned. No singing or whistling on the property, so those things that kid's usually
do like singing and whistling that's not allowed. Oh, so maybe that's why it was always silent when Leanna would stand and listener backyard. Did you ever try to going yourself? We did Leon. I did go right up to the building out, there's a little bell, We ring the bell and nobody answered. So we looked through the window. Looking inside the office, it looks pretty dirty. I see a cost. Go child seats on the floor, a fan, some kind of what's that is that a blog matches that tests look like a blow mattress could catch, because I can see that we're just looking into this front desk area. That's all we can see just this one messy room.
On the desk, there's a box, a white plastic container that says baby shampoo, labelled on it and then there is gloves they look like medical clubs. Here, there's some postal notes says Van five Van wine Van room, you see! Oh you I see, can you any time I see the acronym you see, I know that the government is referring to an unaccompanied alien child. That's an emigrant child whose crossed the border by themselves More recently you see would mean a child who'd been separated from their parents at the border and had been turned into an unaccompanied child The big question I still have is: who were those kids who, where they come from, are they still there
We are told me that on the twenty second of June, she saw a bunch of vans lined up outside. She wanted to take more video, but the workers saw her and she says that they actually part the vans and this kind of rectangle formation to block her view and Leona says that she sobbed several car seats in, boost your seats for younger kids, and then she saw all the vans diskette loaded up with dozens of kids. Although she was unable to fully see the kids, he was able to see their feet underneath the vans and they drove away, and she hasn't seen the kid sense from accounting and are reporting it's possible that this group of kids was inside the office building for up to three weeks it could have been shorter, but The M won't tell us, and we don't know where they went or where they are now, but we are trying to find out thanks out. Thank you out.
Out of a ghetto, and our team will continue to report on family separated at the border and would bring the stories over the coming weeks and months. If you have a tip force- or maybe you know something about these kids or you have another family separation Tipp, we should know about- you- can email us at border at reveal news dot. Org that's border at reveal news dot org. Next, we move to different kind of story about families whose lives were suddenly splintered? It's been almost a year. Since the devastating hurricanes of twenty seventeen and in Houston. Some families are learning that damage to their homes was not only predictable is preventable. That's next on reveal from the centre for investigative reporting and p r eggs from the centre for investigative reporting in p r ex vis.
Is reveal a mallet already more than a month and a hurricane season. So can we spend the rest of the show revisiting are reporting from last year, Storms Irma, Nate Rear. These were just a few of the hurricane that struck in twenty seventeen. It was the costly as hurricanes. He's an on record causing nearly two hundred and seventy billion dollars in damages. In the U S alone, one of those stars, Hurricane Harvey brought the worst flooding ever seen in the city of Houston Hurricane Harvey,
state of emergency, we're not measuring and inches of rain for measuring and feet of rain Harvey the most powerful hurricane. If they say since John F Kennedy was progress, is now a massive probable thought. When people talk about Harvey today, they use words like unprecedented plan imaginable, but into story which we first brought you in January. We want to take you back in time nearly a year before the storm hit. When we were talking to a guy who saw some of their flooding coming flooding, there was entirely preventable. You don't have a bubble up very rigid, long watch for the? U S, army core of engineers meanest teacher producer, Basic Texas Tribune drove around with him back in October of twenty sixteen word Al Qaeda right up the slope Richard drives his White Ford, pickup truck thirty five feet up a steep earth. Damn souci means
nerves ill do without any issues. Ok, a few seconds later, prominent capital you're. Looking into the reservoir right now, looking down from the damn into the Barker Reservoir, mean, it doesn't see war. Instead, it looks like a giant park. We have dear bobcat people. Recreating we have soccer field at your ball, feel shooting ranges If you look at Houston on Google MAPS there to massive patches of green way, western downtown one is the bark arrest war which Richard and mean Our looking into right now, there's another one, just like it near by God, attics. There was called dry reservoirs. They only Philip, doing really big rainstorms and the idea is to collect right water here, so it doesn't flood downtown Houston. Riches job is to make sure that twenty miles earthen. Damn surrounding the brass wars hold.
All that water in place? I've had some people call me and say: hey. He can't play soccer, get the water all my soccer field. Did they realize their soccer field, a reservoir while you have to buy a german so long it there's more Sakharov fields and saddles resorts to make that point. Richard drives just a few minutes away to what looks like a typical Houston suburb, sidewalks, two story: houses with big to car garages and a few scattered apartment buildings. Her work on the inside the reservoir right now. Here's report, which is on the inside of we're inside that we are inside a reservoir, not not on government property apartments inside the reservoir. How can it be
Well, when these projects went up back in the nineteen forties, the army core built them so that a total of fifty square miles of land would flood behind those earthen dams, but they only bought thirty eight square miles of time. It didn't matter because hardly anyone lived out there. It was mostly rice, farms and ranches, but eventually developers bought that extra lad and they build houses at apartment. Buildings mean asks about there now do they know they live in a resolute most do not. Is it a secret No, it is not it, but they just don't serve. We ever go to maximum flood these guys. Are you order in our first George? Maximum flood is exactly what happened. Ten months late Tropical storms Harvey now a history making disaster in a few weeks after her
we need a way back to see what happened to those apartments. She takes the story from here. I is our kind of driving down. They shouted down wisely. Because the flooded I'm back in the same neighborhood and it looks completely different. The whole apartment complexes cordoned off windows are covered in plastic workers are walking around and white cover all eventually, a supervisor drives up to the front gate. To talk with me, they're good rapporteur was the flooding here really bad for sixty forty six feet, so you couldn't. I am reporting, Therefore, we have to be careful because we can release information from the property without authority. That's the end of it. He asked me to stop reporting thanks. A lot have a good one
I want to know if residents around here realized their living inside a reservoir and upon a street called lock mere lane. Almost all the houses here flooded too. There are heaps of dry wall, furniture and carpet on top of manicure green lawns. People are home cleaning up. My name's mean I'm a reporter with the Texas Tribune. Yes, and I'm workin drive around these neighborhoods to talk about what they ve been doing with lion inquiry. This isn't how Anita budding usually receives visitors she's, holding a bag of trash behind her. The walls of her first floor are totally ripped out and fans are drying. What used to be her living room? I'm standing on this piece of cardboard on her friend step. Do you love my lovely welcome at my original welcome is long gone. Anita tells me more than a foot of water sat in the house for weeks it's on. Above all, right now and for them all
they're doing a lot of the repairs themselves. You pulled all of that. I sell out my how that would, from God and short, while there were getting clothes, but also of what we can afford. All the damage is gonna cost, at least a hundred thousand dollars the bunnies. Don't have it like many people here they never bought flooded. Parents, their county government doesn't consider them to be in a floodplain because they are far from any rivers are creeks, Anita husband. Tom says that was a big selling point. When they moved I never wanted to live any. Mere or purchase a home. That would be an floodplain. It's been weeks since Harvey and the burning still don't know their house is actually inside a reservoir? I pull out a twenty five year old document. I got from the local property records Office in Fort Ben County. It's called a plot, a big map that developers have to draw up when they
The new neighbourhood local officials have to sign off on each plant before developments allowed to go through, but most homebuyers never see it. These are general notes, this document and do see that on its diverse or something is designed to the fund is too small the vision, is adjacent to broker reservoir. It is subject to extended, controlled and then day shoe extended, controlled inundation under the management of the. U S, army core of engineers is what the rest of the Senate sets day extended controlled inundation under the management of the. U S, army core of engineers is what the rest of the sentences. In other words, your property could be flooded for an extended period of time, but that's not the whole story. When the Platte says this subdivision is adjacent to Barker Reservoir Duchess means its next to the good. I've been on portion rubber
There's a lot of land designed to flood that the army cord didn't buy in the nineteen forties back then it was raised fields today, it's their neighborhood, the army court told us that its accurate to say that your homes are inside Barker Reservoir, while not just not adjacent but enzymes issues. Key According to our analysis, their home is one of fourteen thousand inside the Barker and attics reservoirs, more than five thousand of them flooded during Harvey how is it that people like the bindings could buy a home and never be warned that hate by the way this house was built, insider therefore, and one day it might flood. We found a real ter SAM Chaudhry who sold more than fifty homes out here
a lot of them in a neighborhood called Grand lakes. Do you ever give your clients the platte? Do you ever see the platte? We actually give them something better. We actually have surveyed down. A survey is a newer map and it's supposed to have more information about a particular property SAM says: plots or old, mostly when developers are building a neighbor had not one someone's buying home, but when SAM those me the survey theirs. Nothing on their about Barker Reservoir, footnote according to firm that adopt this property is in zone eggs and does not lie with him a hundred year. Floodplain is this what you are required to you
wired to give the buyer the survey fire actually buys it BP five hundred dollar. For this thing, four hundred to five hundred dollars for destroying. Actually I have the Platte four Grand Lakes here I show SAM, where the tiny fund is and is subject to extended control inundation under the management of? U S, army, Calypso engineers. What exactly does that mean? It basically means Grand Lakes is actually designed to fight in a situation like Harvey, really is I find these dams. In essence, Grand Lakes is inside the reservoir so infringes inside the rose roar. How would they approve these plans? I wanted to know the same thing to try and get an answer. I went to This guy here we are again
why you got me should be tied by I've been to Steve Costello's office a lot over the past couple years. People call him: the floods are any works up. On the fourth floor of Houston City Hall. He helps direct policy to protect the city from flooding. I asked is if he knew that homes in the huge scenario sit on land designed to flood by the army corps. I wasn't pay much attention to be candid and not quite if I really knew that much about it, the guy in charge of flooding, pollen? the in Houston is telling me he didn't know there were thousands of homes and these reservoirs. He says all those homes were built before his time. I don't know when the developments occurred is not like they occurred yesterday. They ve been there for quite a long time. I pull out a plot to Chester If it's the same one, I showed Realtor SAM Chaudhry. This plot was approved in two thousand for, and it actually has Castello in. There
no corner. So that's your engineering or development firm right. There was usually for my family was employed, he's being modest, Steve Castello, founded Castello Ink and was president of the firm until twenty fifth, ten, even as I'm showing him as Platt. He's still doesn't seem to understand that its in the reservoir, It's outside the gunman online, even though without the government on land it still inside the reservoir? It still in a part of the land that designed to flood well if that information is available at the time that these developments would occur, d probably wouldn't happen. The developer wounded developed as light, except, I point out to steal the infirmary was available at the time. It's written on. The very poor but his engineering firm worked on. They were within the flood pool Parker run along with a further work on the project, but it was my from their work they have ass. Other engineers are the developers even fear on firm. You could ask the firm to people and are to work on the project we go back and forth about this for a while, eventually Steve just
He doesn't want to look backwards. He also says the city of Houston can't fix this alone. The reservoirs extend into the outskirts of Houston, which means county governments are also responsible. My name is Bob Aber I've been county. Judging I ve been carry since two thousand three, I'm in my fifteenth year laughed. The title is: kind of a weird Texas thing? Bob a bare doesn't have judicial powers he's just the top elected official maybe, as everything worked out, they want back there, they wouldn't taken more steps. I dont know I wasn't there and me I'm not occur politician. I just sort of stepped into this job when my predecessor had a heart attack. In fact, our reporting shows that thousand. Of homes went up inside the reservoirs after he took office, they were plan for those new neighborhoods plots that he had to sign. There's a part here that I found from your time as Canada was approved in two thousand for and so
signature is here right? So why sign these documents when they have the disclosure then say. Actually I didn't realize that we had all these homes idols read the pledge we sign. Dozens of plants every week. Could the engineer a better view, since it has the disclosure on their said that no man or no man can you play cremation now through your head around and go back to July? This year, planting informing Kelly was an important to you was an important of the Texas Tribune Why won't you come? Why didn't you come in here and talk to me meeting the new, no Harvey was gonna happen. Actually, We ve known for more than a year that these homes would one day flood and we ve been reporting on it. Allow me to screw my head around all the way to October twenty. Sixteen remember that's when Richard long from the army core gave me the tour we heard earlier
a word on the inside the reservoir right now, here's a form of complex was on the intolerable Richard long is allowed to talk to me anymore, because the army core is facing lawsuits from flooded residents, not just from people inside the reservoir, but also ones, flooded downstream, when attics and Barker got to full? the record reign in this region has put reservoirs and dams under tremendous strain during Harvey, Damn surrounding the reservoirs had to hold so much water, the army core worried they might fail. If that happened downtown- sin could have literally been swept away by a massive wall of water. So the army core made a hard choice, opening floodgates to relieve the pressure and the army core of engineers as it had to let the water out of those reservoirs essentially to save
downtown, because they were filling up too fast, but that when the engineers open those floodgates, they sent water rushing towards neighborhoods, downstream thousands of homes flooded in putting Cynthia dealings. It's like the Wallis her to a one year is bottled way out. If you get down really. Oh, my god, but Cynthia showing me a brick wall on her house. That looks like it's about to collapse during Harvey's thought her home was safe, but then, just as the storm was petering out, waters started pouring in because the army core openness floodgates, and then they got to a point that has started coming in faster and faster. Are we just had to go upstairs nearly two feet of water sat on Cynthia first floor for weeks. Oh she suing the army core. Do you think this is
eligible. I don't know, but I don't really care, I mean I don't have a job, we're in harm's way: Ericsson, Barker we're supposed to protect Cynthia, but all those houses upstream inside the reservoirs put her at risk. Back when the area was just grasslands. Water absorbed naturally into the ground as it's been developed and paved over Now, more and more water collects behind those earthen dams during every storm for here's the army core has warned Congress and local officials that the aging dams can't handle it there. Now at the top of the list of most dangerous dams in the country, Anthea says the army course should never have let things get this bad there excuses are so lame. They make me sick, they have had almost eighty years to make those damned safe. They saw danger, they didn't nothing. Will you stay in Houston? No leave usin. I love
the city, I have loved this city from the moment I stepped foot or not Ground and non burn sixty eight years, my husband, seventy one. I won't be able to sleep at night since Harvey Local Office, I have requested six billion dollars from Congress to buy and demolish homes and the reservoirs? There's no telling if it'll ever be approved since a storm we ve been keep an eye on those neighborhoods inside the reservoirs. Believe it or not, people are still buying houses there, but we haven't found any real estate listings, disclosing the risk In fact, we ve never seen any mention that these homes sit on top of land. This design to flood the story was produced by reveals need as a teacher whose, based at the texts, tribute shared reporting, help from the tribunes Key Collyer.
And from our Shaw Pro publicly, to find a lot more houses in danger of catastrophic flooding. You don't have to look inside arrest war. You can just go to the Louisiana Coast with the next storm. Could change thousands of lives oh will migrate, one after another and towns will will fall apart as a result. That's next on reveal. From the centre for investigated reporting in p r eggs, this is reveal a mallet in the last few years. There is a phrase that people started, throwing around the world's first climate change refugee, expect to see more climate migrants. In some ways they are also environmental refugees, climate change, migrants on climate change. Refugees than evacuees whatever you want to call them. People are
to leave their homes because of things like rising, sees rising temperatures and extreme weather. The? U N says there could be up to a billion in the coming decades, including millions right here, the? U S, people like Malcolm locker, store as his friends column. Little MAC insisting on waste and waste noise. He's a shrimp about a hundred miles. South West nuance he's on his boat just getting back from four days. Catching shrimp in the Gulf of Mexico is likely to be on board with Him- is W W animal fodder taken windless thrill pretty up here. I think that's why I like it so much my scenery. All the time is, would people take to the early morning, sun sparkles, on the water of by you, large, a channel that runs from the ocean all the way to make his house my backing.
My back here on the Louisiana coasts, the by you, is like the main street of a small town. Every out you pass or for its first second cousins out just go from the low cost levels to the arts, foul family, but the water that connects these families also makes their neighborhood increasingly dangerous. Believe here is disappearing, making it one of the most vulnerable places in the state to flooding from hurricanes. Tropical storms, some of the houses, are raised up high stills some are empty because owners have moved away. Those who remain like making. Plan. Their laws ran hurricane season. The first thing I do Why? The welcome doesn't want you, into Jonah July? When you stores does really grew up around I'll. Have the Guinean left everything up that again give out a horns away. Secure my Boden get out a Dodds storms can
we need to get worse. The wheezy and republican legislature has been reluctant to place the blame with climate change, but they cannot ignore the effects the states been planning for the next big storm ever since the devastation of Hurricane Katrina more than a decade ago, and thousands of people like Mackey are waiting to see those plans. Will help them taken wetland takes it from here. You can't really see what's happening to the Louisiana Coast when you're on a boat, because first off the coast, is all around you and is in a straight line of beach or cliffs on a map. It looks more like the bottom of the state's boot shape is unravelling into marshy fingers that reach out into the gulf. The best way to really picture is to see it from about ready whither. I take it too
her on a tiny propeller playing on board with me as a coastal scientist Alex Culture and an environmental law. Professor rob verging look at their support over their got it right allocate. It looks like a pretty I we dodge pelicans and looked down on what's making Louisiana Coast such a dangerous place to live, Alex points how the land is becoming marsh and the marshes are dissolving into water. That attack by the we were at the start of the flight is probably what these areas used to look like a hundred hundred fifty years ago now we ve just get out you I've. You know it's sixty forty. Seventy birdie watered a lan line his washing away into the golf two thousand, square miles have disappeared, since the nineteen thirty is its cause, by sea level rise, long term erosion and oil companies. You could say,
It was all right. Oil always look at how they dug canals, so their boats can reach oil rigs. They built out in the marshes and those canals have a road it in turn to open water to preserve. And that remains the states pumping in dirt to create marshes and barrier islands and building levies. Basically, walls to hold back the ocean as the plane turns Alex, tells me to look down about very odd. That for future is the shape of the levy a straight line made of tons of dirt dividing the open water from land where you can see houses, but not all all of the houses are safely behind. The levies fell well back his house right back there. I will ride over water saved city. Very, very close. You know you the air. You can really see how close the water is, Maggie's houses on and on
rejected little spit of land surrounded by water. Though, how do you think appeals to be in some of the family is that I watched this big levy go up and they know that their side of it, but that's gotta, be better stating I regret road because they know exactly what about me. Like the like the lifeboat sailing away without you on it after we left I ask him a follow up what happens to the people, Were left behind? Well, people will migrate why an after another and towns will will fall apart as a result and economies will tank. And at a law be very chaotic, it will happen at the only question: is are we gonna get ahead of the curve?
Louisiana has tried to get ahead of the curve after Hurricane Katrina, the state unified its planning powers under a single agency, the coastal protection and Restoration Authority run as is the lead. Planner you'll have a better than his little self deprecating, which must come in handy. Trying to pull off such an ambitious mission. We We are charged with restoring our coastline and reducing risks, protect our citizens from hurricane structures. For the last decade. That's not trying to save the land by building all of those marshes barrier, islands and lobbies, but in the twenty seventeen version of the agency's coastal master plan, that's changed. We know that the future of our coasts and will be a much different kosovars today. You mean early less of it. Yes Yes, we will can't restore our coasts to the level that was at ten years ago hundred years ago, certainly The state is now admitting it's a losing battle. Some land will be lost forever, flooding
storms will get worse and theirs people on the coast this day will not be able to protect The your agency used an elaborate statistical model to forecast how bad flooding might get a strong storm would cause at least five feet of flooding. They say you should raise your home a little higher than that and at the floodwaters are projected to hit twelve feet. You should just move They estimate there are twenty four hundred houses like this, and the plan is to pay the homeowners to leave and knock those houses down. Just putting that down on paper friend says that's kind of a big deal. I figured import to note the com Is this really the first time we ve had a kind of this level of discussion about the sensitive topic I don't want to be told they after move, especially coastal, who is the fiercely independent
many of their ancestors move to the coast in the first place because they dont want the government telling them what to do native American striven it the marshes by the indian Removal ACT and scrappy french settlers, like the grandparents Mackey, the shrimp her a big storm, could cause fourteen feet of flooding for his house. That would make him eligible for a buy out. I wonder if you would take an offer to buy and demolish his house our ethical bottle. That's the whole lively who is not this well live there probably now that I've been doing the wound up toward the end. My father consider seriously consider it. It's not gonna get any balance the more she hasn't come back now. Remember lackeys houses just one of twenty four hundred, so I wonder what the rest of them Think and would money change their thinking? I decide to do an informal survey of Mackey neighbours.
Starting with a group of older men fixing the engine on a shrimp bout reveal stand, Alcoran came with, so what? How big would a government check have to be to convince any of you guys to version of IE Most of us down here with, we really want women were so. I think that interaction gives you a sense of what new encounter down here alive. But, as we talk to people, we find it doesn't take much to change their minds. For instance, we come up to one house windows cover. At last they comply with orders of Diana Liner answers the door. Is that something that you would be interested in? If there were money to help you move, would you move made up? There is every year ago, more than sixty Where'd you own a star over on a new house, a new baby. She said
he's flooded and rebuild so many times. She can't remember after Katrina she applied for help to elevate her house, but she couldn't get the money. The bureaucracy involved was just too complicated and the laws so stew that mouthing you re somebody that money on her daughter, Consuela punch peaks through the window shape, Signor amounts talking to your then comes out the front door wearing a cheetah print rope, though we are asking you about buyouts. If there were any kind of Bio programme, the oceans coming up more storms are coming. People here will have to move. It's one of the most vulnerable part the state, and so we were taught. I dont want to move it, but if there were any, would you didn't have a lot of faith that a new government programme will help them, but if it was easy, if it paid enough money, that's a different story. Again and again, it doesn't take long to get from. No, we don't want to move to name a price hourly takes
is a conversation about flood risk, but so about dollars and sense which ran hoss. The planter at the Coastal authority understands our first stagnation you go to that local listings of community, whatever, maybe and say, here's what we're saying: here's, what our data is telling us about. Lan lost and storm surge. And vulnerabilities here. Options to address those bad situations. Going to that's, not hammer, you know it's not happening it. It's not happening at the state hasn't told, any of those twenty four hundred households. They should move in fact, despite their every computer modeling? You know these specific properties. I did not. I dont have a list of structures. Emma in my pocket or anything the agency couldn't tell us where the houses were so we requested their data about
the worst, flooding will happen and we made our own map. That's how we found Mackey and its neighbours to us about the true reveals data team used read to mark the areas where the state wants people to leave and large swathes of the coast were red. Bren takes a long, hard look at the map I think it's very interesting, but he didn't know much of a reaction, but he did email us later asking if he could get a copy, it seems like they could have made the map themselves if they really wanted to. But bread says the state purposefully not going out and looking for these people for a very We'll reason the Bio programme would cost one point: two. Billion dollars and so far rents, as they don't have that money very almost mom. Not much that had been available for this gonna sake and without money Our plan is really just a fancy blueprint, but if the coast is such a big priority for the state, why don't they have the money? Why can't they just appropriated from the state budget
We asked state representative drums rang. Why not appropriate because we now have a virus. Driving Lamborghini renegade can't afford reality. Is the state didn't have the money states? Usually you don't have the money to deal with major disasters like hurricanes and floods. They turn to the federal government and design. Two related grants from the federal emergency management agency or the Department of Housing and urban development. Some of those grants pay for things that sound Louisiana by our programme, but their different. I get a first hand. Look at approach, and paid for with one of these federal grants in Roberta Grove, and it's a subdivision a half hour, drive from where Mackey the shrimp her lips, I'm going read write, death have been over the ridge. I go there with Jennifer Bossy she's, a local planner whose whole job is managing federal disaster money. So these little plots hero whereby outs occurred. Yes, these are where, by whereby
Ok, so we're just looking at just a mode lot here and their houses on either side which is most of our biota, their next other houses. I point to one of the empty lots. This one says it's for say: yes, it is pursued, so someone can build here again. Yes, people and build here again as long as they raise the new houses a few feet off the ground. The federal money being spent here isn't getting people to abandon dangerous areas before a storm, its helping people who have already been head republican congressmen, Gara Graves wants to change this. He represents much of Southern Louisiana, where people are still cleaning up after more than a hundred thousand homes flooded and twenty. Sixteen, when I met him, You just come back from Washington. Mary spends a lot of his time trying to get federal disaster money. It's a name for me. Sending troops and now he's competing for relief funds.
In the aftermath of hurricanes in Houston and Porter Rico. He says this whole approach where we come in with money after the disaster is just not very effective. Study show a dollar spent before a disaster saves for dollars later, and I think, instead of throwing a nickel in every ten dollar problem across the country, which is what we're doing right now, we instead come in and corral or focus those investments on. Things that are true priorities like, for example, investing in buy outs in instances where that and fortunately, is the best investment to where we are spending money. Before these Esther strike in saving the billions that we come in and spend after disasters happen. But these days you says, that's beginning: I feel like more and more of an uphill battle in twenty thirteen, then President Obama ordered federal agencies to work together to prepare for climate change, but President Trump has rescinded that order.
Since the state doesn't have the money and the federal government is coming to the rescue coastal and our says, there's only one place left to look for money. A two thousand six law It gives Louisiana a cut of offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, there's a kind of justice to using this money, since oil companies are already implicated both in climate change and in a eroding the coast. Next year, Louisiana cut is supposed to be seventy million dollars. That's a lot of money until you compare it to the price tag of the Bible. A grand I mean- that's not at you and your one point. Two billion under you can ignore the fact that the dollar short there to do it, I see that a huge robot implementation, and as long as he does have the dollars to actually help people renders unseal out of upside and telling people they should move go to an individual, homeowner and say this is what needs in this particular location might actually be a responsible. At this point. That's ridiculous sky,
You still works for the Gulf restoration network. Then environmental group advocating for people on the coast I mean it is the responsibility of the state to inform its residents that there are threats to their public safety and they need to be talking to people about, that now he's as people don't even understand the danger therein, let alone their options and if they did, they be fighting to get help. If the state did have the money and help all of us. Twenty four hundred households move but still be a lot of people left behind, like the Williams family obligations, alien. Daniel Williams live just northeast of New Orleans than a little rural subdivision called Avery estates. They grew up out here. This is: where are we wanted to be forever. We wanted to build our home with our family, have memories Marian.
Is it been living out since the 70s, so I mean my grandpa used to pigs. I hear Forgot watered is bad. It floods. All the time now and when it does, the water quickly rises in their yard. They raise their home thirteen feet in the air, so the House days dry, but the cars gets stuck. The kids miss school and this tough enough already without the flooding Daniels Disabled and they live off of his disability, Shack only about it thousand dollars a month for them there. Two kids and five dogs personally are weaker Myself another year or less poverty, if that and I'm fed up disgusted, I hate coming home Just we can't be the family. We won't be back keeper silence Now a lot of our lives, but once again the government and give you enough money do anything? You know me.
At least when it comes to Louisiana proposed by our plan, probably not on A map, the area where the Williams LIVE is just outside of the Red Zone eligible for buyouts. The projected fly where they are just isn't quite bad enough. So how does it make you feel to see that in that region a sick man. Sat. It says that world oil square laughed out, just that little square. That's left out. There are a lot of people across the vizier who are getting flooded in one hour, but for now there are waiting for the next big storm to head and the federal money that comes with it. That's taken one coastal Portrait W W our story was produced by reveal stand airport since we first the story. State officials have started to seriously consider how to relocate people on the coast. This funding to move a small
of homes were Maggie lives and a new Energy Agency Council back attack on relocation in the future. I show was produced by the Isn T just add: Alcor lost our Chaskey Phoebe Petrovitch, red buyers, Deb George and talk you telling me this edited the show, with help from Zita Brands debtor special thanks to Dave harm from the Texas reveal senior data reporter Eric Cigar and each. Why? Why for production are sound design team is the dynamic doing Jane, breezy Jim? in Fernando my man. Yo Arruda help this week from Catherine Raimondo and catch up. Nick RC, music by camerado lighting support reviews provided by the Reva and David Logan Foundation. The John D Catherine T Macarthur Foundation, Logan Family Foundation for Foundation, the Housing Simons Foundation and the ethics and excellence in journalism foundation reveal is a copper.
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Transcript generated on 2019-12-20.