When the '500-year flood' hit Michigan, residents had to weigh risk of escape in a pandemic

  • Source: The Guardian
  • Published: 05/22/2020 12:00 AM

Suzy Kastura had less than an hour to pack before the floodwaters gushed into her home in the central Michigan town of Midland. Her neighbor knocked on the door after the Edenville Dam failed Tuesday, sending a deluge downstream toward the town where they live. They had to evacuate, fast. Kastura, 67, grabbed the essentials – medicine, a toothbrush, blankets, the cat. During most natural disasters, that would have been enough for a stay at an emergency shelter. But Kastura’s home flooded during the coronavirus pandemic: she didn’t have a mask. First responders had to keep a safe distance when going door-to-door ordering 11,000 people to evacuate. Flooded nursing homes sent residents into shelters, where Covid-19 could spread. The Midland hospital sent its ventilated Covid-19 patients to nearby hospitals in case the flood was worse than predicted.


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