Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Galveston's crippled water system concerns heath officials

Galveston desperately needs to repair its crippled water distribution system to avoid widespread disease, health officials said today, as broken sewage lines, polluted water and dangerous debris continued to pose grave health hazards.

No infectious diseases have been found in the areas hit hardest by Hurricane Ike, Galveston County's top health officials said.

But as people come down with diarrhea, nausea and one case of flesh-eating bacteria, Galveston city manager Steve LeBlanc said the island is facing a growing health crisis.

"We just want to avoid a mass infection type situation," he said.

The single medical treatment facility - the University of Texas Medical Branch -was partially flooded during the storm.

Its emergency room has been taken over by two U.S. Health and Human Services Disaster Medical Assistance Teams.

Residents of hurricane-battered Galveston may be able to return to their homes in a week, Mayor Lyda Ann Thomas said today.

Electricity has been restored to the University of Texas Medical Branch and surrounding areas, LeBlanc said. The entire city, he said, should have power in seven to 10 days.
~The Houston Chronicle

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