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Subject: Flood damage in midwest

Flood damage in midwest

From: Elizabeth C. Welsh <aaphw>
Date: Sunday, July 25, 1993
Barbara Roberts, a conservator and hazard-mitigation consultant (and
past chair of the ICOM Ad Hoc Committee for Hazard Reduction), sent the
following to me for publication in "WAAC Newsletter." Particularly worth
noting in her report: (1) the health risks involved in post-flood
cleanup work and (2) the desirability for conservators involved in the
flood recovery effort to work in coordination with AIC and NIC.

--Liz Welsh

  "The extensive and prolonged flooding in the Mississippi and Missouri
  Rivers' drainage basins has caused $8 billion in damage to date and
  the estimates are rising daily. The crest of 47 ft. at St. Louis
  during the third week of July set a record: about 4 ft. above any
  other measured flood. One million cubic feet of water per second is
  travelling at 5.5 mph--double the usual speed. The crest will move
  downriver and high water will reach Vicksburg, Mississippi around
  August 1st and New Orleans August 5th. This is without further
  rainfall, which is now forecast. The cleanup process will take weeks,
  months, and in some places years.

  "The receding waters will leave a contaminated residue that may
  contain sewage, animal waste, decomposing wildlife, fertilizer, oil
  waste, garbage of all kinds, rotting organic and inorganic materials,
  and goodness knows what else. There is a very real health risk to
  residents and to those who assist in flood prevention assistance and
  clean up. Residents have battled the river for weeks, and exhaustion
  is a fact of life.

  "The flooding has caused havoc to householders and to numerous
  historic properties. Large museums, archives and library collections
  have not been damaged, although buildings are flooded in some towns.

  "Since mid-July, a number of conservators have been working closely
  with the AIC Board to prepare an information package for faxing to a
  long listing of cultural, museum, historical, and conservation
  associations, alliances, and organizations as well as to AIC
  institutional members in the region. The AIC and NIC are collaborating
  to send out a larger mailing, funded by NIC, to midwestern NIC
  members, all institutions that received the July 21st fax, and the IMS
  mailing list for the region. This mailing will include information on
  the recovery of materials, a medical alert sheet, AIC and NIC
  brochures relating to the referral service, guidelines for selecting a
  conservator, and emergency funding.

  "The response of the conservation community in preparing this
  information has been wholehearted, and the coordination between the
  various organizations has been excellent. The clean-up work is
  starting, and conservators will no doubt be called upon for advice,
  assistance, and treatment. The work will be expedited due to the
  planning and information provided to the public and to cultural
  institutions. Conservation Materials, Ltd. is preparing a basic water
  salvage kit, based on information provided by conservators and
  approved by the AIC.

  "It is important for conservators to be informed of the coordinated
  efforts being made to assist the flood victims and their possessions
  and to be aware that they will be working as part of a larger team
  effort if called upon to assist in that region. Anyone going to the
  area should update vaccinations and be prepared to handle objects that
  could pose a serious health risk."

                  Conservation DistList Instance 7:15
                   Distributed: Sunday, July 25, 1993
                        Message Id: cdl-7-15-001
Received on Sunday, 25 July, 1993

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