Flooding the plains

As the Red River floods, volunteers should follow.

The characteristically tempered Red River âÄî which streams past Fargo and Grand Forks into CanadaâÄôs Lake Winnipeg âÄî could crest at record levels Saturday, potentially endangering the lives and homes of thousands of residents. The threat in Fargo is especially acute: Mayor Dennis Walaker has said he will present an evacuation plan today, which is unprecedented for the city. The president declared North Dakota a federal disaster zone Wednesday , and volunteers are stacking at least two million sandbags sure to serve as just tenuous bulwarks against the riverâÄôs violent and icy torrents. Accordingly, Fargo and other towns and cities along the river are desperately in need of volunteers and we encourage students to do what they can to help our northwestern neighbors. We commend students who have already made the 235-mile, four hour trek to Fargo. And we laud professors who have made accommodations for them to do so. The necessity for aid will be more than provisional. This flood is said to be worse than the devastating flood of 1997 that forced thousands to flee their homes and caused 11 deaths. The flood occurring now will not cease in a few days, but will continue into April with expected rainfall. Volunteers will be providing important help and it will not be in vain; damages of the flood could be greatly reduced by helping hands. The University of Minnesota should recognize this disaster and be of service to students, faculty or employees willing to sacrifice their time and effort to help neighbors and family in a time of need. A river will flood âÄî but so too should compassion.