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When the levees fail

"A hard rain's gonna fall..." So the Dylan song went... but when rain and storm surges fall on lands protected by weak levees, this means trouble…big trouble. Hurricanes Katrina and Rita were devastating reminders of this frightening fact. How then can we limit trouble when a levee breaches or, better yet, prevent such a break from ever happening again?

“Any solution will be difficult and challenging,” says Wil Laska, who manages the Levee Strengthening and Damage Mitigation Project at Homeland Security's Science & Technology (S&T) Directorate. “But first, we’ve got to ensure that all the levees in the United States are solid, built correctly and well. We also have to make sure that all repairs are attended to on a rigorously timed basis. No ifs, ands, or buts.”

Photo: Flood victims are rescued in New Orleans.
Contact: Gail Cleere
US Department of Homeland Security - Science and Technology
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