Like me, I am sure many of you are following the situation in Texas. It’s heartbreaking. I cannot fathom the devastation and the toll on the lives of those who live in the area – human or animal. Hurricane Harvey can only be described as catastrophic not just due to the vehemence with how it hit land, but because of the continued rainfall after the fact. The flooding that has occurred is truly an example of how we are no match for Mother Nature.
In light of the recent events in Charlottesville, it’s refreshing to see the country pulling together to help those in need. From news clips of “The Cajun Navy” pulling boats heading to Houston to help with rescue efforts, to a boat filled with 21 dogs that a group of good Samaritans helped rescue, to donations made by celebrities and us “regular” folk, I think it’s fair to say that those affected by Hurricane Harvey know people everywhere are doing what they can to help out.
While people rush to help, it’s important to realize that flood water is not just dangerous in terms of drowning its victims. Flood water can also be dangerous because of what it contains. It can be full of a myriad of contaminants from pesticides and other chemicals to animal or human waste. The bacterial count in flood water is extremely high and can cause health issues from ingestion such as vomiting and diarrhea to skin infections and even chemical poisoning. Even after the flood waters subside, the worry is not over. The silt and mud left behind from the water will likely be contaminated, so care in handling during clean-up efforts will be needed. Then of course we move from moving water to potential standing water and the probable infestation of mosquitoes carrying arboviruses such as Zika and West Nile Virus.
If that’s not enough, biosecurity measures need to be put in place to manage potential transmission of diseases between animals that may not normally come in contact with each other. For example, there is a cattle fever tick eradication program in South Texas with the quarantine area extending more than 500 miles from Del Rio to the Gulf of Mexico. While anticipated rain and flooding have not yet occurred in the quarantine area, government officials are working to issue permits to allow for the relocation of livestock to safer grounds should it be necessary in the days ahead.
Needless to say, Texas needs our help. If you’re interested in lending a hand or donating items or money, the following are some organizations that are looking for help:
- Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners – Temporary Emergency License Application
- Red Cross – Hurricane Harvey Support
- Houston Food Bank or Corpus Christi Food Bank
- Houston Humane Society
In the words of John Bunyan “You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.”