The health dangers don’t stop with a hurricane’s churning. They can get worse.
By William Wan ,Lena H. Sun and Carolyn Y. Johnson
In coming weeks, long after Hurricane Florence’s winds and rains have faded, its aftermath will still pose life-threatening hazards: snakes, submerged sharp objects, bacterial infections and disease-carrying mosquitoes.
People are trapped by floodwaters and facing dwindling supplies of medicines, food and drinking water. Carbon monoxide poisoning is a danger as people crank up portable generators, and respiratory viruses will circulate in crammed shelters.
On Monday morning, in Maxton, N.C., Dan Lowry, 48, and his wife, Jewel, 51, trudged through the waist-high water around Dan’s father’s house, aware of the dangers around them.
“Yeah, there could be bacteria,” Dan said. “Or snakes.”
Both were wearing shorts. Their feet were bare. The sun had finally broken through the clouds, and they were going to check on their trailer, in the backyard.
Beside him, his wife shrugged in resignation. “What are you going to do?” she said.
Disaster experts categorize health hazards in the wake of disasters as short-term, midterm and long-term dangers.
The majority of people who die during or immediately after a storm die by drowning.