ABSTRACT

While an argument can be made that the Great Flood of 1993 had an impact on the entire nation, it is not possible for this chapter to address the social consequences of this natural disaster entirely from that perspective. Instead, the state of Missouri has been chosen as the focal point in an effort to contextualize and analyze the most significant social impacts of the 1993 flood. However, what happens on a local level, particularly in the disaster arena, can and often does have national significance. Consequently, the central thesis of this chapter is that the severity of the local flood impact in the Midwest has national implications for floodplain management and disaster relief policies. That policy debate, focusing as it does on the interacting roles of federal, state, and local governments with individuals and powerful economic interests, will occur at a time when the nation, particularly the U.S. Congress, is expected to intently examine these issues. In short, how the nation decides to deal with the policy consequences of this disaster will provide scholars from various disciplines with an insight into contemporary thinking on the role of government in a democracy on the edge of the 21st century.