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Elderly ladies seen in viral flooding picture are now safe

The residents of a Texas nursing home who were seen up to their waists in murky water in a viral photo on Sunday are now safe and sound in a new home.

The 15 residents of La Bella Vita were captured in a startling photograph that showed them knitting and sitting around, apparently unbothered by the flooding from Hurricane Harvey.

Now, two days on, all of the ladies have been moved to safer and dryer ground, as CBS News reported. 

 

The elderly women seen up to their waists in flood waters from Hurricane Harvey are now dry and safe after being airlifted from their partially submerged nursing home Sunday

This photo of La Vita Bella nursing home in Dickinson, Texas, went viral when posted Sunday morning. The ladies - 15 of whom lived in the home - were airlifted to safety at 1pm that day

This photo of La Vita Bella nursing home in Dickinson, Texas, went viral when posted Sunday morning. The ladies – 15 of whom lived in the home – were airlifted to safety at 1pm that day

The initial picture was posted by Timothy McIntosh, the son-in-law of the woman who runs the home. The women had been told to stay put by emergency responders, but waters kept rising

The initial picture was posted by Timothy McIntosh, the son-in-law of the woman who runs the home. The women had been told to stay put by emergency responders, but waters kept rising

On Monday, CBS reporter Omar Villafranca tweeted a photograph of seven of the women in nice, clean – and dry! – clothes.

‘Remember the heartbreaking pic of Tx Sr Citizens stuck in chest deep water in #Harvey?’ he asked. ‘New pic: They’re safe, warm & dry!’

He later explained that they had been taken to another institution in Alvin, Texas, around 20 miles from La Bella Vita. 

That was a relief to many commenters, who had worried about the ladies’ conditions ever since the photo was posted on Sunday along with a message asking for help.

‘I literally squealed and clapped when I saw this! Happy happy happy! Such great news!’ wrote Robinne Lee. 

Though some people on the social media site doubted if the picture was real, a woman in Dickinson posted a picture of her flooded street from the second floor of her home

Though some people on the social media site doubted if the picture was real, a woman in Dickinson posted a picture of her flooded street from the second floor of her home

‘Thanks for the update. My Mom was in a nursing home for years, so that pic struck a chord. I’m glad to hear they are OK!’ said Carl Artist.

Many more commenters asked about the condition of the cat glimpsed on a chair in the background of the scene – but the feline’s fate remained unknown.

The nursing home began to flood just a little before dawn on Sunday, The New York Times wrote.

Emergency responders told everyone inside to stay where they were. But the waters kept rising – and the ladies weren’t going anywhere.

In the background of the picture a woman with a hunched back and shawl over her shoulders can be seen; she is Ruth, a 64-year-old woman whose second name is being kept private.

Her sister, Susan Bobrick, 68, was unable to get to the home due to the flooding from Hurricane Harvey and saw the interior for the first time on Twitter.

She said that she wasn’t surprised that the ladies in the photo – including Ruth, who suffered a debilitating head injury aged 19 – appeared unbothered by the water.

‘They did look sort of calm in that photo,’ she said. ‘But at this point in time they had been in that water for several hours. 

‘When you get people that are in wheelchairs, or cannot get around, or they have walkers, if the water kept coming up, what were they going to do?’

The residents were evacuated on Sunday, sad Ken Clark, a Galveston County commissioner.

‘We knew about it before it hit social media,’ he said. ‘We were working on a solution for the nursing home, and it was in progress, so social media can sometimes leave one with the wrong impression.’

Several hours after McIntosh tweeted the first picture, the residents of the nursing home were rescued by helicopter.

Several hours after McIntosh tweeted the first picture, the residents of the nursing home were rescued by helicopter.

Concerns were also raised about leaving the elderly women in the flood water for an extended period.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, urban flooding can cause huge health risks as sewage rises up.

Wounds can become infected, mosquitoes can breed in the standing water, and accidentally consuming the water can also lead to dangerous illnesses.

Bottled water was seen alongside the women in the initial tweet. 

It’s also possible to get trench foot – in which skin swells, blisters and peels – after being immersed in water for too long.

The risks aren’t just biological, though. With warehouses, factories and other industrial areas being flooded, there are also risks of dangerous chemicals contaminating waters. 

La Bella Vita is seen here prior to the flooding. The home had never before experienced flood waters, so officials told everyone to wait in place

La Bella Vita is seen here prior to the flooding. The home had never before experienced flood waters, so officials told everyone to wait in place

There are other risks for Texas residents at the moment, including floating colonies of fire ants.

The insects – which originated in the Amazon – use their waxy bodies to protect the queen at the center, and rotate to avoid drowning.

The large red balls of insectile bodies pose a risk to anyone who touches them, and residents have been warned to stay away. 

But that’s no help if they happen to touch ground near someone’s home – at which point the spread out across the dry area.

‘The unfortunate thing is they don’t care what it is that’s dry,’ Wizzie Brown, extension program specialist also at the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, told Wired.

‘So if it’s a house that they hit and there are people on the roof stranded, they will go up there as well because that’s them trying to escape the flood waters.’

Flood waters can cause infections and illness; other threats include floating masses of living fire ants that will attack anyone who touches them - and will crawl onto or into buildings that they float into

Flood waters can cause infections and illness; other threats include floating masses of living fire ants that will attack anyone who touches them – and will crawl onto or into buildings that they float into

And as fire ants are aggressive, venomous and like to cling onto their victims, the arrival of 100,000 of them on the roof of a building is not good news for stranded survivors.

The ants’ bites are painful but rarely fatal unless the victim has an allergy, but it’s still something most would not want to experience.

People are advised to hit the floating colonies – which can sail around for as much as two weeks – with soapy water, which breaks up the ants’ waxy coating, causing them to drift apart and drown.

The original photo of the flooded nursing home was posted by Timothy McIntosh, whose mother-in-law owns the business, just before 10am Sunday.

He accompanied the message with a cry for help: ‘La vita Bella nursing home in Dickinson Texas is almost underwater with nursing home patients. Need help asap emergency services please RETWEET.’

Though some people on the social media site doubted if the picture was real, a woman in Dickinson posted a picture of her flooded street from the second floor of her home nearby.

She wrote: ‘This is taken from the second floor of a home that is less than a mile away. And Dickinson Bayou is between them. Very plausible.’

Several hours after McIntosh tweeted the first picture, the residents of the nursing home were rescued by helicopter.

‘We were airlifting grandmothers and grandfathers,’ Dickinson emergency management coordinator David Popoff told Galveston County’s Daily News.

McIntosh tweeted that the residents had been rescued just after 1pm.

He posted: ‘RESCUED!! Thank you to the National Guard & the Galveston City Emergency crew for our rescue; @GalvestonOEM #houstonflood @NationalGuard’. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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