Catastrophic rains are continuing to fall over Houston, flooding not only the streets but establishments and houses, affecting mattresses and furniture. That’s why health officials have warned people to be careful with the objects affected by the water, due to they might be infected with bacteria and dangerous chemicals.
The flooding won’t stop for quite a while. The National Weather Service predicted that Houston areas, which are already full of water, will present ten more inches of rainfall. Despite that this will represent a huge economic loss, estimated in $30 billion just for property damage, it will also pose a critical danger to public health.
Officials are not extremely concerned by bacteria in the water, as they are paying more attention to drownings, people getting poisoned due to generators’ carbon monoxide, and people at the shelters – estimated to be around 30,000.
Hurricane Harvey has affected all kinds of people in Houston. According to the Executive Director of Harris County Public Health, Dr. Umair Shah, whose house was also evacuated, “the first and foremost thing that everybody’s concerned about is just getting folks out of harm’s way with the flooded waters.”
A city submerged by infected water for months
Harris County Public Health has warned residents about the dangers bringing by the flooding. The agency stated that people should avoid electric lines that come in contact with water, sewage contamination, rusted nails and animals coming along with the flood, such as alligators, snakes, insects, and more.
Around 30,000 people are staying in shelters to protect themselves from the flooding. Officials are also helping residents with health issues, such as respiratory and gastrointestinal problems, or other drastic problems that are better to treat at earlier stages. The agency is also taking care of the food and the water served inside the shelters.
The result of the Houston flooding has been so tragic that health officials are worried about the mental health of the people after Hurricane Harvey passes. The natural catastrophe might produce traumatic effects.
“That doesn’t even obviously take into account the numerous injuries and the mental health issues that all come into play. So it’s a very complicated response system,” said Dr. Umair Shah.
Health officials will take samples of the contaminated water
According to the the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s spokeswoman Liz Bowman, they will begin taking samples of the water in Houston. According to her, the agency will also help safeguard water and sewage plants. Last week it secured Superfund pollution cleanup sites, and it will continue doing so.
Health officials also warned people about open wounds. They remembered that five people died due to infected wounds after Hurricane Katrina.