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Louisiana flooding is worst disaster since Sandy, but people aren’t talking about it

Posted by on Aug. 18, 2016 at 3:47 PM
  • 7 Replies
The Red Cross is calling the disaster in Louisiana the worst to hit the United States since Superstorm Sandy. So why does it seem like no one cares? Video provided by Newsy Newslook

At least 13 people are dead and 40,000 homes are damaged because of flooding in Louisiana – and the rest of the world isn’t really talking about it.

Since rain hit the state's southern region last week, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have collectively issued no formal acknowledgements of the disaster, aside from a tweet.

As of Thursday morning, the search term “Louisiana” wasn't easy to find on Google Trends,' sharing a spot at 31 beside news of President Obama's vacation plans.

Obama has yet to visit Louisiana, but members of his cabinet are on the ground. One of the state's largest newspapers recently published an editorial asking him to leave his vacation at Martha's Vineyard and come help Americans struggling in the southern state. For comparison, Obama visited New Jersey two days after Hurricane Sandy touched down there. The Red Cross is calling the flooding in Louisiana the worst natural disaster since the superstorm.

Red Cross spokesperson Craig Cooper said this "epic" disaster, expected to hit $30 million in disaster response, is struggling for national attention because it hit in the midst of the Olympics, election season and another natural disaster — the California wildfires.

"This isn’t making the front pages," he said. "It’s not making the landing page on websites. From the Red Cross’ perspective, the Louisiana floods are page one."

And it isn't making the front pages for a reason, according to Susan Moeller, professor of media and international affairs at University of Maryland, and director of the International Center for Media.

The Louisiana flooding is a classic case of a "bad-timing” for media coverage, according to Moeller. She notes that while the floods have been covered, they’ve escaped the attention they would have received at another time.

“It’s a presidential election year, and the Olympics are ongoing,” she said. “There’s very little oxygen in the newsroom for covering it.”

Moller said all it takes is one scroll through your newsfeed to see the coverage is predominately about Trump and Clinton, the U.S. swimming fiasco in Rio, and the Olympic medal count.

More than a dozen USA TODAY stories on the topic have performed average, at best. Readers simply aren’t clicking on them. Maybe this article will be the same.

The lack of national interest in the flood, is likely because Americans are becoming almost numb to the onslaught of human suffering.

“There is a bit of disaster fatigue,” Moeller said. “We’ve seen a string of horrors over the past number of years. Yes, natural disasters, but also very human disasters of violence.”

Moeller said people can count terror attacks on their fingers, and while the flood is cataclysmic, 13 people died, for some “it’s just one more tragedy.”

While it's too early to tell if donations are down, Cooper, who's been in Louisiana since Sunday, said many locals are helping. He said Thursday morning there was a line of people interested in volunteering at the Red Cross' Baton Rouge center.

"You have people who have lost everything, who can’t get into their homes and they don’t want to do nothing," he said. "So, they come to us and want to help out."

For response workers in Louisiana, the topic isn't waning.

“We are going to be here for a very long time," Cooper said.
by on Aug. 18, 2016 at 3:47 PM
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by Platinum Member on Aug. 18, 2016 at 4:13 PM
1 mom liked this
We're talking about it here, I've seen coverage in the Canadian media - and I don't watch news on tv at all. While I feel bad for those affected, I won't be donating, I keep my donations closer to home generally.
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by on Aug. 18, 2016 at 4:19 PM

It's those Duck Dynasty kinda people that are hurt.

They are gross.

by Member on Aug. 18, 2016 at 4:19 PM
Olympics are more important.

by on Aug. 18, 2016 at 4:20 PM

It isn't making enough headline news IMO.

by on Aug. 18, 2016 at 4:24 PM

Quoting tanyainmizzou:

It's those Duck Dynasty kinda people that are hurt.

They are gross.

It's affecting more than rednecks. I have friends that are watching carefully as all the areas around them are flooding. Their hous is up on a hill which is why they are still dry right now, but many of the areas around them in Baton Rogue are decimated. 


" I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13 

by 8.21.1831 on Aug. 18, 2016 at 4:25 PM
I've heard about it. Continously.
by Emerald Member on Aug. 25, 2016 at 4:19 PM

Hurricane Sandy killed over 100 people

about 13 have died in La this time, people ARE talking about it. Federal Response has been amazing and within HOURS of a phone call to the POTUS, FEMA was on site. It's called handing the situation

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