HAMPTON, Va. -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has authorized $500,000 to begin the process of mosquito control in areas of Southeastern Virginia flooded by Hurricane Floyd. Local and state health officials are developing plans to begin spraying to control mosquitoes in severely affected areas, according to the Virginia Department of Health.
"The funding for the spraying has been approved and the planning is being finalized," said State Coordinator of Emergency Services Michael Cline. Cline, state coordinating officer for the Hurricane Floyd disaster recovery effort, asked FEMA to help pay for the mosquito control project. The state will pay 25 percent of the cost with FEMA picking up 75 percent. The state health department determined that aerial and ground spraying could reduce potential health risks after receiving requested test results recently released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accordingto the state health department, the risk of people contracting encephalitis from the mosquito is very rare.
The exact locations and times for spraying are being determined and will be publicized prior to spraying. The volume of mosquitoes in sections of the Southeastern area of Virginia has increased 10 times above the normal amount due to standing water left by Hurricane Floyd, according to the state health department. The numbers of people potentially exposed also has increased as people clean up their flood-damaged homes and businesses. The state health department recommends that people protect themselves from being bitten by mosquitoes by avoiding being out at dusk, wearing mosquito repellant, wearing long sleeves and pants, and eliminating any type of standing water including potted plants and bird baths.