‘Dangerous, no-one could do it’: ‘There is no way’: Drought and flooding are ‘a huge risk’
Floodwaters from droughts and heavy rainfall in the US have killed at least 1,200 people in Texas and Louisiana.
But a state report on the state’s emergency preparedness says “there is no single, simple, and proven method” to deal with the threat.
The report, prepared by the state Office of Emergency Management (OEM), says “many different scenarios exist” in the event of flooding.
It said in the case of a major storm, “the state will have to deploy more than one component of its emergency management system to support the local communities”.
The report said in a scenario where a state has “a substantial proportion of its power grid and/or major highways that are inundated, it may be necessary to deploy additional emergency management resources to support flood management and water resources”.
It said such an “extended response” would not be “easy” but “it is imperative”.
The study says “the key to a successful response to a severe weather event is to have the right information, the right equipment, and the right personnel to protect citizens and the community”.
“In the event that the local community is under severe threat, there is no one can do it, there’s no single method to do it.”
The report says in the “worst case scenario” where the city of Austin is flooded, “a city with a population of 300,000 or more” could face a $2 billion loss.
“In this scenario, a major disaster would have a $3 billion impact on the Austin area, which could be catastrophic to the city.”
The study also warns that “unprecedented flooding could occur if the state does not prepare properly for a major event”.
The US is experiencing its fourth major drought in a decade and a fifth in less than three years.
The Texas Department of State Health Services said last week that there are 2,000 more people in the state who are chronically infected with the coronavirus.
The outbreak of the virus in Texas has led to the death of at least 21 people in its first three months of 2016.
The governor of Texas on Monday said the state has the highest rate of deaths from coronaviruses in the country.
But the report from the OEM says: “There is evidence that increased risk may occur when there are an insufficient number of trained personnel to respond to an incident.”
It says in Texas, “there are no comprehensive, cost-effective solutions to address the increased risk” and that “it’s important to consider all the implications”.
The OEM said “there has been a significant increase in coronaviral infection from the Texas outbreak in the past year”.
It says “no single, effective, or reliable response” to the threat “is likely to be the only viable option” and there is “no easy solution to mitigate the risk”.
The states governor on Monday told ABC radio that the outbreak was “very serious” and he said that “our state has a very large population” of Texans who were at “significant risk” from the coronivirus.
But he said the governor and the federal government are working together to “provide the resources” needed to “help Texas”.
“We’re working with the Department of Homeland Security to coordinate response,” Governor Greg Abbott said.
“We’ve asked them to help us, but we’re working through all of the resources we have.”
In response to the report, the White House said it “reaffirmed its continued support for Texas” and said President Donald Trump has “always stressed the need to take steps to protect the state”.
“President Trump’s administration has called for an all-hands-on-deck response to this serious threat,” the statement said.
“We know that we are up against a very significant challenge, but our federal government is ready and committed to ensuring Texas’ residents have access to the lifesaving medicines they need to survive the next pandemic.”