Extreme Flooding in Colorado Leaves Many Worrying about Homes and Sickness

By Amanda Chiarello,
Domestic News Writer

Over the past few days, Colorado was hit with record breaking rainfall, causing massive flooding in towns such as Boulder, Longmont and Lyons. Workers left their farms, and families left their homes, only to return to find destruction.

These flash floods brought down power lines and destroyed roads, which left many people stranded. Hundreds are still missing.

As the floodwaters recede, rescuers are working diligently to find the hundreds of Colorado citizens missing. According to Fox News, “the floods have left six dead, plus two women missing and presumed dead.”

Approximately 18,000 homes have been damaged, due to the flooding. According to CNN News, “the runoff is coursing down the South Platte into neighboring Nebraska, where forecasters are warning of flooding into the weekend.”

Matthew Applebaum, mayor of Boulder claims that shock and disbelief will continue to wander the minds and attitudes of citizens affected in the area.

“The amount of destruction, the damage to people’s houses, the damage to neighborhoods, the damage to roads, the damage to our much beloved open space — it’s pretty significant.”

Residents of Colorado are urged to stay out of the floodwaters, due to contamination.

Spokesman for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Mark Salley states that floodwaters may be contaminated by raw sewage and chemical releases from homes and businesses.

Nearly 1,900 oil and gas wells, in the flooded area, have been shut down for precautionary measures. They are currently being inspected for any leaks.

According to ABC News, “two spills were reported by Anadarko Petroleum Corp. — 323 barrels along the St. Vrain River near Platteville, and 125 barrels into the South Platte River near Milliken, federal and state regulators said.”

Not only are the oil and gas wells a major concern, but many are also worried about the growth of mosquitoes, due to the standing water. Residents and people involved in the cleanup efforts are concerned they will be exposed to mosquitoes carrying the West Nile virus.

The rebuilding effort will cost millions of dollars, and could take months, even years. Major highways and bridges are among the many things that must be repaired. It is estimated that these roads will be permanently repaired sometime in 2014.

Many people question how emergency services will be able to get to damaged areas, when many roads have been washed away.

According to FEMA, “more than 6,400 Colorado residents in the disaster have applied for aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and more than $430,000 has been approved in individual assistance such as temporary housing and home repairs,” as reported by CNN. Ever since Katrina, the United States has developed strategies and compiled resources in order to deal with natural disasters such as the one afflicting Colorado this past week.

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, Sept. 24 print edition.

Contact Amanda at
amanda.chiarello@student.shu.edu

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