Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 37.djvu/476
460 THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.
or was heavily laden with debris and every kind of filth, and whatever this water touched it contaminated. As a result, every house in the flooded district was filled to the second floor, in most cases, with offensive matter. In many cases dead animals were found in parlors, and scores of dead horses were removed from dwellings and business stands. Everything was covered with mud. There was not a place where the flood touched that man could lay his head with safety."
The State work began June 1st and ended October 12th. The result at Kernville, a ward of Johnstown, is a truthful index for the whole district. " With the concentration of twenty-five hundred people in three hundred and eighty houses, all subjected to intense mental strain by reason of the calamity and the radical changes in their habits of living, it is very gratifying to know that during the continuance of the Board's operations not a case of infectious disease developed in the district which should be attributed to bad sanitary condition." In the past history of na- tional disasters we do not read of such gratifying results, but dire pestilence has too often followed great earthquakes, floods, fires, famine, and the disasters of war.
There are several measures not strictly sanitary, but most necessary, to which the sanitarian should give heed before his own special work occupies his attention. If the officers of the district have been lost, or in any way rendered inefficient, a strong government must be at once organized, and the district placed under efficient police control, that lawlessness and anarchy do not prevail. At Johnstown the people named a "dictator," who decided all questions of government and kept the region in order. The distress which lawlessness produces must not be toler- ated. The organization of relief corps to succor the injured and dying, and to organize temporary hospitals, should receive next the attention of the sanitarian. So soon as the government is as- sured, and temporary relief is progressing satisfactorily, he may advise the proper committee as to what will be needed in the way of food, clothing, shelter, and medical stores. These will be re- quired in large quantities ; but in the United States, at least, we can safely rely upon the country at large to supply these things promptly. For shelter, tents can be had from the State Governors by applying to them.
At Johnstown the people did not like tents, preferring any kind of houses, and suffered great inconvenience from overcrowding rather than go into the tents. There were two forms of ready- made houses used — one, familiarly known as " Oklahomas," were of two sizes : the smaller, eighteen by ten feet, with one room, and a larger, eighteen by twenty-four feet, with two rooms ; and the Hughes house, which was larger and better built, consisting of