Thousands face environmental risks in Texas, toll climbs to 60

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 06 Sep 2017 12:19:50



THOUSANDS of people continue to face the lingering risk of environmental hazards in storm-hit US State of Texas where Hurricane Harvey wrecked havoc, killing at least 60 people and costing up to USD 180 billion.
Local authorities advised residents returning homes
within the evacuation zone to drink bottled water and wear surgical masks, closed-toe shoes and gloves as a precautionary measure.
In a statement, the Harris County Public Health Department said the same recommendation is given to those returning to flooded homes.

The sheriff’s office in Fort Bend County, located in the Houston metropolitan area, has asked residents to leave reptiles, like alligators, found on their properties alone until the water recedes.
“We have everything from snakes to alligators to fire ants,” said Lach Mullen, spokesperson for the Office of Emergency Management in Fort Bend County.

“Even though evacuation orders have been lifted, people have to be wary of new occupants in their homes. They don’t want to occupy the same space as you; they will leave on their own when they can,” said Mullen.
Umair Shah, Harris County Public Health director, is making the rounds in the flooded areas of Houston and warning residents about the risks they face while cleaning up their homes in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.

Kirtikumar Shah, a leadng gastroenterologist in Houston told PTI that, “One of the health hazard is people walking in the water and children trying to play in the water. They can get hurt with some sharp objects which they cannot see because these objects are submerged in the water. Another health hazard in flood water could be snakes and if person is walking in the water you can be hurt”.

“The greater danger comes when the flood water interfere with the clean water supply as it happened in Beaumont. There can be scarcity in drinking water because the supply trucks cannot reach the target area because of the floods at all, he added.

According to Nik Nikam, a leading cardiologist said, “People who are displaced can miss their medicines that can make their chronic conditions like heart disease or kidney disease worse and put them in the hospital.