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"When The Levee Breaks, I'll Have No Place To Stay"

These words that came first from the mouth of Kansas Joe McCoy and later from Robert Plant still ring true, but even more so as of late. From ravaging earthquakes to hurricanes of monstrous proportions, natural disasters are truly starting to take its toll on many different levels.

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Back-to-back earthquakes are shaking Mexican morale

U.S. Geological Survey / Via

Littering worldwide news over the past few weeks are reports of various natural disasters taking their toll on both minor and major cities and the people who live in them. Just this week, Mexico City and other surrounding locations felt the impact of a 7.1 magnitude earthquake, shaking the city to its core both literally and metaphorically. A total of 200 people have been confirmed dead due to the earthquake so far, with more still to come as volunteers, military personnel and professional crews¬ continue their rescue efforts.

What’s up with all of the natural disasters?

EPA / Via

Seemingly over the last several weeks, mother nature has been dealing her worst to nations around the world. While Mexico has been impacted by two earthquakes within the past month, Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria have left scarring damage on not only the states of Texas and Florida, but also nations scattered throughout the Caribbean and the surrounding area. All the while the future path of Hurricane Jose is still uncertain as it churns just off of the Eastern coast with the potential to pack quite a punch.

"All last night, sat on the levee and moaned."

Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images / Via

When Lizzie Douglas and Wilbur McCoy, better known by their stage names Memphis Minnie and Kansas Joe McCoy, wrote the original version of “When the Levee Breaks”, they (surprisingly) weren’t using a metaphor. Rather, the lyrics are telling the story of the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927, a flood so destructive that it has been deemed by some to be the most destructive river flood in the history of the United States. Traditionally, levees have been viewed as icons of safety, trusted by those in the surrounding area who have faith that these devices will save them from the destruction that would come from a swath of storms. Though as the lyrics of the song say, “If it keeps on raining, the levee is going to break”. Although literal levees are still in use to this day, a new kind of levee has helped save hundreds of thousands of lives over the past few decades.

“Don’t it make you feel bad when you’re tryin’ to find your way home?”


The meaning behind “a levee breaking” has been amplified and changed (much like Led Zeppelin changed the song on their “Led Zeppelin IV” album in 1971). When it comes to modern day natural disasters, they have reached new extremes (thanks to global warming) that continue to push disaster relief teams to their absolute limits. Thanks to the collective efforts of droves of selfless mean and women, a new levee has helped lessen the blow of these terrible events. When a hurricane dumps biblical amounts of rain or an earthquake shakes a city at its very core, no one can stop the events that can follow. The longer people are left without power or families are left without homes, the deeper of an impact the disaster will have. Though thanks to thousands of selfless men and women, that morale-crushing impact of a catastrophe can be held back from truly destroying a community (just like a physical levee does for a city or town). The levee of support may not be able to fully hold back the force that a natural disaster can bring, though thousands of brave men and women can certainly help take away from the lasting effects it can have on the people the area.

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