The Fort Wayne Flood: A Case Study

Phillips, Brenda D.
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Disaster Research Center
Fort Wayne, Indiana, is located in the northeast sector of this midwestern state. From March 12 through March 19, 1982, Allen County, Indiana, and specifically the city of Fort Wayne, experienced a major flood. Two rivers, the St. Mary's and St. Joseph's join to create a third river, the Maumee, in Fort Wayne. All three rivers went above their respective flood stages in March, 1982, due to snowmelt and heavy rain. The extent of the subsequent disaster was beyond the normal, planned means of local officials and calls for volunteers to fill sandbags and rebuild dikes were extended through the media. Approximately 30,000 individuals, including about 18,000 students responded to the crisis and effectively turned back flood waters to save many homes. The high degree of organization required to coordinate this effort was largely in place prior to the flood. The scope of the disaster, however, stretched management capabilities beyond expectation. Volunteers filled gaps in disaster response--as they perceived--as well as offering services to local officials.
Fort Wayne Flood , community characteristics , disaster preparedness , disaster risks