An interview with the Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price focused on how HHS, FEMA, and other response groups have worked to deal with the crisis in Houston following Hurricane Harvey. HHS has transitioned from emergency response to cleanup and recovery in recent days, including setting up shelters and pop-up hospitals until Houston’s medical teams can get back into their facilities.
Price outlined the difficulties of dealing with facilities, homes, and other structures that have been affected by a hurricane. In particular, there are health issues that do not come into play until after the water recedes. Flooding often promotes mold growth, and those exposed to mold can have breathing difficulties, diarrhea, rashes, and other types of infection. If mold is not discovered, these health issues can plague individuals for months or years following a hurricane.
Currently, FEMA, the EPA, and other organizations are working to determine that facilities in Houston and other affected areas are safe for workers and residents to return to.
This interview was published in Time on September 6, 2017.