Hazardous train derailment continues to pose threats to the people of East Palestine, Ohio, even weeks after the catastrophe

by Gianna Vacari, Staff Writer

The derailment of a train carrying toxic industrial chemicals in East Palestine, Ohio, has posed a number of serious repercussions for residents of the small town. Shortly following the disaster which occurred on February 3, government agencies and members of the cleanup crew initiated a controlled burn of the chemicals, convincing the town this was a safe solution.

Though this was intended to prevent the risk of the toxins exploding, subsequent consequences have revealed that the handling of the chemicals was antithetical to safety. The burn resulted in the contamination of 15k pounds of soil and 1.1 million gallons of water, causing an unnerving tension among residents of East Palestine. Worst of all, toxins were released into the Ohio River, which traverses through a number of states, until emptying into the Mississippi.

Thousands of fish have washed up dead in water bodies surrounding the town, and residents have mentioned health complications of their own. The town is no longer a safe place to live—as one source described it, the town has basically been “nuked.” Residents are yearning to move their faxmilies elsewhere, but selling a home in the area following this catastrophe is going to veer buyers away.

The White House had previously put down disaster relief for the state, as FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) stated the issue did not qualify for federal disaster aid.

Former President Donald Trump announced he’d be traveling to East Palestine this week to provide to suffering Ohioans; shortly after doing so, President Biden declared he’d also be deploying a team to Ohio, two weeks following the accident. Even with arriving assistance, the question regarding the long term safety of residents still remains.