Hospitals in the southern United States struggled with water shortages in the wake of the freezing cold and storms that hit the region.
A regional hospital in Anahuac, Texas, about 80 miles east of Houston, lost both power and water. The hospital had to resort to a generator and a water tank of just over 1,000 liters.
This was filled three times with water from a swimming pool, says William Kiefer, CEO of Chambers Health, which runs the hospital.
The water supply was restored on Thursday, and operations were back to normal on Sunday. Work is now being done on a better reserve solution for water and electricity, the hospital management states.
Several hospitals were hit
Millions of people lost water and electricity due to the unusually severe winter weather. The relief work is in full swing, and on Saturday, milder weather gave the inhabitants a respite.
Texas was not prepared for many days of freezing temperatures. This led to extensive power outages and rolling shutdowns to prevent full collapse, and frozen and cracked water and gas pipelines that were not dimensioned for cold.
When it was at its worst last week, the hospitals fought to take care of the patients. Among them was Houston Methodist Hospital. Two of the company’s hospitals fell victim to water shortages.
US President Joe Biden has declared Texas a disaster area, and about 30,000 people in the state are still without power. Gov. Greg Abbott says power should be back on Sunday or Monday.
Republican congressman Michael McCaul says federal aid to the state can be used to repair damaged water pipes and flood damage, and to pay residents’ sky-high electricity bills.
Bottled water in Memphis
In Memphis, Tennessee, about 26,000 homes and businesses were required to boil drinking water, while hospitals and nursing homes switched to bottled water. The Tennessee National Guard supplied St. Francis Hospital with water, among other things.
Some of the most critical patients were moved to another hospital with a water treatment plant and a larger water reserve. Other hospitals in the Memphis area received water from tankers and assistance from hospitals that were not affected by water shortages.
Local authorities drove water bottles to several areas on Sunday as shops struggled to fill the shelves with bottled water. Many restaurants are also closed.
Biden declares Texas a disaster area
Biden will visit Texas
President Joe Biden has a strong desire to visit Texas, which is particularly hard hit. Biden hopes he can travel this week, but he does not want to disrupt the relief work, says spokeswoman Jen Psaki.
– He is very aware that it leaves a big footprint when a president travels to a disaster area, she says.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner tells the channel CBS of Biden is welcome at any time.
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