For the sixth consecutive day, search and rescue efforts in Snohomish County Washington continue as more than 90 people are still unaccounted for. The mudslide that covered nearly a square mile is making it a slow process due to all the mud and debris left behind. The catastrophe, which happened Saturday morning, came crashing down a hillside and wiped out more than 30 homes in the town of Oso, Washington.
Geologists say that the prolonged rainfall in this part of the country is probably the main culprit for initiating such a deadly mudslide. Overall, mudslides and landslides result in an average of 25 to 50 deaths a year in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This particular mudslide already has a death toll of about 25 on its own, and as the rescue efforts continue, this number sadly continues to grow.
Landslides do most of their damage because of the thickness of the mud and debris that get picked up and smashed into everything within its path with extreme force and speed. If the mud snaps a tree in half, that tree now becomes like a torpedo that’s being propelled by the flow of mud and water. Not only do landslides smash everything in its path, but they cover it up as well. This is a major issue that the search and rescue teams in Washington are having to deal with right now. Even the search dogs are finding it difficult to navigate and traverse the affected area. These factors are suspected to get even worse with more rain in the near forecast.
Once the search and rescue is completed, the grueling task of cleaning up the affected area will shift into high gear. Debris removal in situations like this can be extremely hazardous. There will be all sorts of decaying and rotten material getting moved around and ripe with bacteria and disease. The drinking water in the immediate area might be contaminated if there was any broken sewer pipes left to spill out into the ground. There’s a lot of information to gather and work to do before the residents can return to life as normal in this community.
Rebuilding a community after such devastation is a long and arduous task and will take years. Even after all the buildings and homes have been rebuilt, Oso, Washington will see the scars of this tragedy for decades to come.
Disasters like this come mostly unseen and without warning. That’s why taking little steps to prepare for emergencies is so important. Whether it’s landslides, hurricanes, tornadoes, or even a man made crisis, being prepared for them might just be the difference between your family surviving the situation, or not!
If you wait, it may be too late! Don’t get caught unprepared, take control of your safety and survival TODAY!
Below is a couple great websites to check out that offer many varieties of emergency food and supplies for you and your family: