Friday, September 02, 2005

Long-term dangers for hurricane-battered areas

It's not just clearing the debris, getting insurance assessments, and rebuilding (which may have to wait up to a year); there are toxins from flooded industries and freed sewage that could make regions like New Orleans uninhabitable or dangerous for decades (registration required):
Louisiana, a center of the oil, gas and chemical industries, "was known for its very weak enforcement regulations," Kaufman said, and there are a number of landfills and storage areas containing "thousands of tons" of hazardous material to be leaked and spread.ouch
. . .
"This is the worst case," Hugh B. Kaufman, a senior policy analyst at the Environmental Protection Agency, said of the toxic stew that contaminates New Orleans. "There is not enough money in the gross national product of the United States to dispose of the amount of hazardous material in the area."
The worst of what's on the ground will be pumped into the Gulf by default, where it could hover and require ongoing monitoring. Officials are encouraging families to register their children in other school districts -- essentially, this mess could relocate a half a million people all over the country, and they'd probably be safer that way than trying to return.

(via Medley)

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