Hurricane Harvey

UPDATE: Senate Passes $15.3 Billion Harvey Aid Package

The Environmental Protection Agency says a 2,500-gallon oil spill linked to Harvey’s strike on the Houston area has been cleaned but the agency did not include details about the spill, including whether it endangered drinking water or forced evacuations.

 THE LATEST  on the aftermath of Harvey :

 

Lois Rose looks over belongings while salvaging items from her flood-damaged house Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017, in Houston. The city continues to recover from record flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey.
Lois Rose looks over belongings while salvaging items from her flood-damaged house Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017, in Houston. The city continues to recover from record flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey.

 

Senate passed a $15.3 billion Harvey aid package; extends United State’s  borrowing authority and prevents government shutdown next month.

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In Harvey’s aftermath, meeting healthcare needs is an ongoing effort.

Shelters are responding to evacuees’ immediate needs – but there are longer-term impacts from the storm to consider as well.

Bridgette Estes with Harris Health System has been coordinating a 24-7 clinic at the NRG Center shelter.

She’s mostly been focused on urgent needs – like getting people their prescriptions.

“So we’ve been refilling a lot of blood pressure medication, diabetes medications, asthma medications”, she says.

Outside the shelters, Memorial Hermann says its hospitals are seeing an uptick in typical post-storm injuries: People rushing to repair their homes and falling off ladders, stepping on nails, even having strokes.

The temporary concerns might fade as recovery continues, but bigger-picture,  Harvey could lead to higher healthcare costs.

Rice University’s Vivian Ho says Houston’s health industry was already struggling from Texas not accepting Medicaid expansion,  so Harvey is bad for the hospital business: “It’s going to affect the bottomline in such a way that they’re going to be asking for higher prices from insurers, and that raises health insurance premiums.” 

For now though – the focus is on evacuees. The NRG clinic says it’s still in need of volunteer doctors and nurses for the night shifts.

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A spokeswoman for the Environmental Protection Agency says a 2,500-gallon oil spill linked to Harvey’s strike on the Houston area has been cleaned up.
EPA spokeswoman Liz Bowman said the agency had closely coordinated with the U.S. Coast Guard, which reported the cleanup was completed Tuesday. An EPA news release sent Wednesday night did not include details about the spill, including whether it endangered drinking water or forced evacuations.
Magellan Midstream Partners spokesman Bruce Heine says his company reported the spill at its facility in the east Houston suburb of Galena Park on Sunday and has assisted in cleanup.
One of the Tulsa, Oklahoma-based company’s pipelines near Bastrop, Texas, was accidentally cut in July. The resulting spill led to evacuations of nearby homes. No one was hurt.
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House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling says he will support a short-term extension of the National Flood Insurance Program rather than attempting a major overhaul before the program expires at the end of the month.
Hensarling says “the calendar got too crowded” to take up comprehensive legislation designed to lessen the reliance on taxpayers to subsidize a program now nearly $25 billion in debt.
The Texas Republican says he hopes Congress will pass a 90-day extension along with a bill by Reps. Dennis Ross and Kathy Castor of Florida that would clarify whether insurance policies offered by private companies can satisfy the federal government’s requirement for purchasing flood insurance.
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Texas health officials say that because of the rains brought by Hurricane Harvey, aerial spraying targeting mosquitoes is set to start this week in two Southeast Texas counties.
The Texas Department of State Health Services said Wednesday that aerial spraying is set to start around dusk Thursday over Refugio and Bee counties. The health department said it had activated its contract for aerial mosquito control and requested additional mosquito control assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Health officials say that while most mosquitoes that appear after floods are nuisance mosquitoes that don’t spread disease, they can impact recovery operations by preventing responders and those affected by a disaster from being outside. Also, standing water can increase the number of mosquitoes capable of spreading diseases like West Nile virus and Zika.
Health officials say a small amount of insecticide — one to two tablespoons per acre — will be dispersed by airplanes equipped with nozzles that create ultra-low volume droplets that kill mosquitoes.
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County and city officials now attribute at least 70 Texas deaths to Harvey, the storm that dumped several feet of rain on southeast Texas in a matter of days.
The latest deaths reported by county emergency officials include a lineman electrocuted while working to restore electricity outside of Bloomington, about 13 miles (21 kilometers) southeast of Victoria, and several people with medical conditions exacerbated by flooding or delayed from receiving treatment.
The Associated Press has confirmed the fatalities and causes of death by interviewing emergency personnel and county officials in the areas under state and federal disaster designation.
The deaths span 13 counties, with the highest totals in Harris County, where at least 30 people have died from Harvey-related causes, according to officials. At least 10 counties have reported no deaths.
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A Texas official says the state’s gasoline supply is recovering quickly after shortages he blames on hoarding and panic buying due to Harvey.
Texas Railroad Commissioner Ryan Sitton says any shortages likely will be resolved within the next day or two. He says several refineries in the state idled by the storm have restarted, although a few remain closed while undergoing inspections.
Sitton says pipelines are all operational again and supply truck companies are working around the clock to get gasoline from terminals to local gas stations.
The three-member Texas Railroad Commission regulates the oil and gas industry in the state.

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