This section provides information to members of the media that may be reporting in communities near levees. Reporters and journalists can find information regarding how to communicate facts about levees and useful links to video and photo libraries featuring images of levees and nearby communities.
While reporting on levee issues, it is important to remember that levees reduce the risk of flooding. They do not eliminate it. Over time, levees can and do deteriorate and must be maintained to retain their effectiveness. When levees fail, or are overtopped, the results can be catastrophic. In fact, the flood damage can be greater than if the levee had not been built.
Even without a major flood, levees can fail if they are not properly maintained. Improper drainage, erosion, seepage, subsidence, and even earthquakes can all cause levees to fail and result in catastrophic flooding.
The responsibility of living in an area with levees is a shared one. FEMA is responsible for identifying and mapping risk; the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is responsible for operating and maintaining levees in the Federal levee system; local governments, communities and private levee owners are responsible for maintaining their levees; and citizens are responsible for knowing the risks and taking steps to safeguard their homes, businesses and families.
For more information, follow the links below to access background information regarding levees and news releases and advisories related to levees, search levee-specific photos by FEMA Region or state and view levee-related video. If you need additional information or would like to request an interview, contact the Regional External Affairs office serving your area.
Visit FEMA’s Levee Resources Library for comprehensive information on levees, levee risk, levee safety and mapping, including downloadable fact sheets, web resources, and more.
The FEMA Photo Library contains thousands of images from across the United Sates. Using the search function on the Photo Library page, type in the keyword ‘levee’ and chose the appropriate state from the location dropdown box.
View homeowners’ stories of recovery from levee-related flooding at FloodSmart’s Video Library:
Denise Thornton and her family were able to rebuild their home in New Orleans after the devastation Hurricane Katrina left in its wake.
In an area that rarely flooded, the Lusks recovered financially while many of their neighbors without flood insurance lost everything.
FloodSmart’s interactive Levee Simulator demonstrates how levees function and the different ways levees can fail. It helps users understand that there is always a risk associated with living near a levee.
Answers to the most Frequently Asked Questions are provided for the following user groups: homeowners, engineers, surveyors and architects, insurance professionals and lenders and floodplain managers.
- Call (1-877) FEMA MAP (1-877-336-2627) Monday through Friday, 8:00 am through 6:30 pm (Eastern Time)
- Email the FMIX
- Chat with a Map Specialist Monday through Friday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm (Eastern Time)
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