Effects Of The Buffalo Creek Flood Essay

Effects Of The Buffalo Creek Flood Essay

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Kai T. Erikson studied the effects of the Buffalo Creek flood and interviewed the survivors left in the community. Erikson documented his research and his analysis in his ethnography Everything in its Path. The flood was unique in the way that it affected the community so drastically and the calamity that it caused in its wake. Buffalo Creek is a small mining community in rural West Virginia. The community has deep roots in the land and has always trusted the land to provide for them as well as trusting the company to treat them fairly. The community is made up of families that have been there for several generations and treats everyone in the community as a family member. Individuals in Buffalo Creek pride themselves on their hard work and the hard work they put into building their community. Erikson analyzes several different aspects of their lives and there are a few reoccurring themes that most of the members share before and after the flood: their material possessions reflect their self-value and the self that the value and their possessions are an extension of who they see themselves to be; the workers viewed the officials in the mining company as one of their own and felt betrayed after the flood; and when the physical aspects of the community were destroyed so was the social aspects of the community. On February 26, 1972 Buffalo Creek experienced a flood of massive proportions. It literally cleared everything in its path and left nothing behind. The community was aware that they lived in a dangerous spot for floods, but never believed that it would impact them the way it did if it actually happened. The company had been making their own dam for years, using all of their waste products from their mine and literal tons of wa...


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...of community left, people work together to overcome the disaster. In the Red River flood, families found other ways to cope because they still had a sense of family and wanted to keep their families together. Some of their ways of coping were to try to simulate their previous home in their new one; they cooked favorite meals, planted favorite flowers, and tried to buy similar furnihshing as well as finding neighbors and friends they knew before the flood. The idea behind Erikson 's premise can be useful to help disaster agencies with their recovery of communities post-disaster. A simple solution to give families a sense of familiarity would be to try to set up families in the same places they were before. In Buffalo Creek, it was first come first serve and they did not ask a preference for where they wanted to live and it negatively impacted the community as a whole.

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