HOUSTON - Flood waters not only destroy homes and highways,
but also bring with chemicals, heavy metals, sewage, debris
and mosquitoes to people's homes in what officials warned
on Wednesday that residents are facing long-term health
In a press conference, officials reminded residents to
remain clear of flood water which could have dangerous
debris, down power lines and snakes. They also reminded
residents to stay vigilant to remove standing water to
reduce the threat of mosquito-born illnesses.
"Prevention, prevention, prevention is the key," Dr.
Humair Shaw, Harris County public health executive director
said in the conference. Harris County is where Houston
Shaw said that as much of the county remained underwater,
the threats hidden beneath those murky tides have led to
"When you expose yourself to flood waters, you put
yourself at risk," he said, adding "if you've been
exposed to flood water, do whatever you can do to
disinfect yourself," he said.
As water begins to recede in most of the flooded
roads in Houston, Xinhua correspondent saw there
are people playing with flood water on the streets,
or even fishing in lakes and rivers where the water
level has risen dramatically since Hurricane Harvey
made a landfall on Aug 25 in Gulf Coast area in Texas.
In particular, Shaw asked parents keep their
children from playing flood water.
He also addressed the importance of homeowners
and business owners cleaning their homes and
buildings after they take in water.
Wildlife can post a health risk. Standing water
left after the flood recedes will leave an ideal
breading ground for mosquitoes which can spread
Water-borne and person-to-person infections can
also early spread after a disaster. Overwhelmed
sewer systems bring people into contact with
disease-spreading bacteria. Stomach illnesses
are common after floods, public health officials said.
About 16 people were killed in the current tropical
storm, and officials were projecting that as many as
30,000 people will ultimately be evacuated from
flooded homes in Houston and other cities and
towns in Texas.