What Recovery is Like After Hurricane Harvey and Irma

You’ve likely heard of damage and flooding to houses, and looting in order to gain the supplies necessary to survive after Harvey and Irma. Although, now that both of these devastating natural disasters have passed, affected individuals now have the strenuous task of attempting to put their communities back together. Even when the water has subsided, damage to houses, the fear of mold, chemical leakage, and sewage overflow is something that Texans and Floridians will have to deal with for some time.

Severe Flooding and Mold

The amount of rainfall and flooding that took over Texas and Florida this year was paramount. In any situation where water damage happens in a household, there is a chance for mold. However, southern states are especially susceptible to molding, and fast, due to the hot, humid conditions of their climate.

Mold can be quite dangerous for those breathing it. Mild symptoms of sickness, including headache, nausea, and fatigue can begin quickly after exposure. However, as prolonged exposure continues, the symptoms will increase. As a result, anyone who has taken on water in their home has been instructed to make preliminary checks of their home and begin to combat any areas that could be harboring mold. Yet, mold can be sneaky and can hide in areas that you wouldn’t expect or areas that cannot be reached.

Of course, treating any wet areas is the first step toward getting rid of the mold, but air purification is a necessity when dealing with these kinds of risks. If there are any lingering spores or spots that could not be reached by those affected, an air filtration system will cleanse the air of much contamination until more detailed inspections and cleansing can be done. Sadly for the over 100,00 houses damaged in Harvey and over 25 percent of homes damaged in the Florida Keys, immediate recourse for the damage they sustained isn’t a possibility for everyone.

Chemical Seepage

More than 50 oil plants and chemical facilities in Texas are known to have been damaged in the wake of hurricane Harvey. As such, these plants have released an intolerable amount of chemicals into the air. Surveys are showing that over a year’s worth of air pollutants may have seeped from the plants in less than a week during Harvey’s stay in Texas.

For chemicals that have already escaped into the air, little can be done except staying indoors for those nearest densely polluted areas. Wearing a mask or using an air purifier wherever possible may help to reduce some of the chemical intake via the air. However, other chemical plants have solid or liquid chemicals that have been released due to Harvey.

In these instances, a few outbreaks of chemicals have been reported from various chemical plants around the Houston area. In retaliation, fire departments in affected areas have begun to start controlled fires in an attempt to burn away chemicals instead of allowing the toxic chemicals to leak into public areas. Again, officials are saying to stay away from these areas as much as possible, yet, others are saying it could take months or even years to clean up the chemical mess Harvey left behind.

Sewage Dump

In the state of Florida, sewer lines are controlled by pumps underground. When Irma hit, many counties experienced blackouts that lasted for hours at a time, some are still experiencing power issues at the moment. As a result, these sewage pumps were shut down and certain sewage containment areas began to overflow. This isn’t just in controlled sewage plant areas either, neighborhoods, schools, and many other public areas have been flooded with sewage.

Some of the sewage water has been treated, but just as much as not been treated. It’s estimated at at least 28 million gallons of sewage water has escaped sewage lines thus far. The state continues to deal with overflowing sewage at the present time until all power outages and sewage damage can be resolved.

Raw sewage in public places in very dangerous for anyone who comes into contact with it. The water is filled with bacteria, viruses, and parasites. Common cases that have been reported include E. coli, salmonella, and hepatitis A in the water. Individuals living near an area that has seen a sewage overflow are being instructed to keep their distance and avoid any water that could have been polluted.

If you’d like to help those affected by these disasters, reach out to your favorite charity and donate your time, money, and much more to support these individuals in need. Tragically, some scam, fake charities have been set up in order to dupe people out of money. Please make sure that you know and trust the charity that you choose to donate to. There is so much to be done in the way of bringing these people some normalcy back to their everyday lives. It’s much more than just removing flooded water, charities have also been started to rescue abandoned animals, give blood to those who were injured, and volunteer to help rebuild houses. If you’d like to get involved, please know that it’s not too late. Many people out there still need your help.

Image Source: Wikipedia Commons

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