The story continues: “Health officials say floodwaters blamed for at least 25 deaths in Illinois and Missouri can carry hidden risks from the sewage and other noxious pollutants they contain. Tens of millions of gallons of untreated sewage have spewed since last week into the Meramec River near St. Louis, and those plants remained offline Tuesday. That waste eventually has and will flow into the Mississippi River and south to the Gulf of Mexico.
“But the floodwaters also could include such things as farm chemicals, as well as livestock waste, industrial chemicals, dead animals, gasoline and railroad toxins. Even sandbags used as last-ditch defenses against floodwaters, pose a health risk because inundations turn them into mountains of smelly, polluted sacks that often are destined for landfills.”
This was one of the primary criticisms leveled by a coalition of nations during the recent Paris climate summit, where the friction between those that “create” the climate disruptions (attributed to greenhouse gas emissions, for instance) aren’t always the ones who suffer the impacts of those climate events. I also discussed it in a previous post. That's fodder for another day, but the message is clear: Like the sandbags mentioned above, technology is only part of the solution.
- Know your flood risk.
- Make a flood emergency plan.
- Build or restock your emergency preparedness kit, including a flashlight, batteries, cash, and first aid supplies.
- Consider buying flood insurance.
- Familiarize yourself with local emergency plans. Know where to go and how to get there should you need to get to higher ground, the highest level of a building, or to evacuate.
- Stay tuned to your phone alerts, TV, or radio for weather updates, emergency instructions, or evacuation orders.