Friday, 4 July 2008

More rains hit flooded U.S. Midwest

By Ryan Schlader Reuters
Published: June 26, 2008

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa: More storms dumped crop-drowning rains on parts of the U.S. Midwest on Thursday, threatening strained levees and slowing recovery from a multibillion-dollar flood disaster in the heart of the world's biggest grain and food exporter.
In Cedar Rapids, where 4,000 homes were flooded two weeks ago after water spilled over 1,300 city blocks, officials ordered 300 houses demolished. Efforts were under way to determine if some structures in the most flood-prone areas could ever be rebuilt.
The city asked federal disaster officials to send in 500 temporary housing units, most likely mobile homes of the type used following the devastation from Hurricane Katrina.
Some estimates have indicated the recovery costs for Iowa alone could exceed the $5.7 billion ()2.9 billion pounds) spent after the last major Midwestern floods 15 years ago in 1993.
Flooding from heavy rains that began in late May already have caused more than $6 billion in crop damage in Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri and Nebraska, the American Farm Bureau Federation, the largest U.S. farm group, said.

Fears that as much as 5 million acres (2 mln hectares) of corn and soybeans have been lost due to the flooding pushed corn and livestock prices to record highs last week.
On Thursday, Chicago Board of Trade corn for July 2009 delivery set another record high at $8.15 a bushel, more than double the 40-year average for corn prices. Corn is the main feed for meat animals, main source for ethanol fuels, and used in hundreds of other food and industrial products.
Iowa officials said this week that at least 2.5 million acres (1.01 million hectares) of corn and soybeans in Iowa, well above 10 percent of planted acreage in the top U.S. producing state for those crops, needs to be replanted.

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