Mississippi River Flood Relief and Control

May 19, 1927

Report Outline
Mississippi Flood Control Problem

Excessive rainfall over a large part of the Mississippi basin had by April 17 brought about flood conditions, which made it necessary for the Red Cross to handle the situation as a major disaster. Up to that time relief for the damage done by the steadily rising river had been handled by the local Red Cross chapters in the seven states on both sides of the Mississippi. A national appeal for $5,000,000 by the National Red Cross was immediately followed by a proclamation issued by President Coolidge in which he stated that the Red Cross must bear the burden of relief work and urged every one to make generous contributions.

“The government,” he said, “is giving such aid as lies within its power. Government boats that are available are being used to rescue those in danger and carry refugees to safety. The War Department is providing the Red Cross with tents for housing refugees. The National Guard, state and local authorities are assisting, But the burden of caring for the homeless rests upon the agency designated by the government charter to provide relief in disaster—The American National Red Cross.”

On the day the proclamation was issued the President appointed a special committee to coordinate the activities of the War, Treasury, Navy and Commerce Departments in support of the Red Cross. The committee consists of the Secretaries of War, Navy, Treasury and Commerce. At the request of the President the special committee met with the Central Committee and executive officers of the Red Cross to formulate plans for relief measures. The first step was the formation of a Mississippi River Valley Flood Commission. Secretary Hoover was named chairman and Henry Baker, National Red Cross Director of Disaster Relief, was made dictator of all relief work. Baker established his headquarters at Memphis, Tennessee, and the government appointed to work with him liaison officers from the Army, Navy, Department of Commerce, Coast Guard, U. S. Public Health Service and Veterans Bureau.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
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Dec. 16, 1994  Earthquake Research
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Aug. 22, 1962  Government Stockpiling
Jan. 18, 1956  Disaster Insurance
Mar. 06, 1952  Mobilization for a Prolonged Emergency
Jul. 01, 1950  Stand-By Laws for War
Jan. 09, 1928  Economic Effects of the Mississippi Flood
May 19, 1927  Mississippi River Flood Relief and Control
Emergency Preparedness
Natural Disasters