Hurricane Harvey's Health Aftermath
While floodwaters continue to rise in the Houston area and other parts of the southeastern United States hit hardest by Hurricane Harvey, ongoing search and rescue missions are expected to become even more difficult as health concerns rise. Rescue efforts have already been complicated by hazards in the water, including debris, sewage, poisonous snakes, and alligators.
Many of Harvey’s victims now in shelters are without life-saving medications and others are still trapped without access to clean drinking water or the medical care they need. From gastrointestinal and respiratory problems to injuries caused by the flooding, to preexisting conditions like diabetes and serious mental health disorders, immediate and longer-term medical care is a huge concern. One example: Thousands of people in the Houston area require dialysis and only about a third of dialysis centers are currently open. Forgoing dialysis treatment for even a day can be extremely dangerous for some patients.