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Residents of East Palestine are still looking for answers and assistance from the federal government three weeks after the toxic train derailment left their town in a state of despair as residents suffer from chemical-induced pneumonia, rashes and hives and the creeks smell of toxic chemicals.
I spent the week in East Palestine, Ohio where I got to see, hear and smell the direct results of the toxic train derailment that left residents of the town in fear for their lives as the federal government ignored them for weeks. During my trip, both Donald Trump and Pete Buttigieg visited the area and their reception could not have been more different.
Upon arriving in the small town, signs reading “East Palestine Lives Matter” can be seen hanging in the windows of now-closed local businesses. American flags can be seen flying upside down, a universal sign of “dire distress.”
Large water pumps are also dispersed throughout the city and continuously pump water out of local creeks. As of now, the EPA is still standing by their statement that the air and water are safe for residents, however, the creek I visited smelled so strongly of chemicals that it left me with a headache. I watched as two officials waded through the water taking samples of the surrounding dirt, a rainbow sheen could be seen as they disturbed the water.
Residents detailed concerns about their short and long-term health, sharing that dead animals, hives, rashes, trouble breathing and pneumonia were common sights and symptoms in the community. They also shared that after a town hall with local officials, they are still in the dark regarding which chemicals were spilled onto their land and burned into the surrounding air.
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