This is not good news, folk.
In spite of government reassurances, things are starting to look freakier than ever in East Palestine, Ohio, where a new official tally puts the animal death toll at over 43,000 following the catastrophic train derailment there.
As News 5 Cleveland reports, state officials said that more than 43,000 fish and other aquatic animals were found dead in rivers and streams in the waterways surrounding East Palestine where a Norfolk Southern train carrying a bunch of toxic chemicals derailed, resulting in both a chemical spill and a controlled burn of the noxious compounds aboard to avoid explosion.
"Do not feel they've been upfront," local resident John Hammer told CBS News, "not from day one."
Just last week, the head of the Ohio Department of Agriculture attempted to reassure residents that "there’s nothing that we’ve seen with the livestock that poses any concerns," the Washington Post notes in its reporting on the updated animal death toll.
News 5 Cleveland notes that so far, the government has not reported any land-walking mammal deaths — but folks who live near the disaster site have said that their animals, including chickens, cats, and foxes, have become sick and died in the wake of the derailment.
Residents of the region are understandably concerned about their health and safety in the wake of the derailment in, spite of official reassurances that the one-time evacuation zone is safe.
Distrust in government fortitude following the Norfolk Southern crash is so high, in fact, that many are convinced that an Environmental Protection Agency official who drank the water in East Palestine didn't actually imbibe.
As of right now, it's far too early to say what the long-term effects of the catastrophic accident will be — but if this latest fish death toll is any indication, there's reason to be concerned.
More on the East Palestine derailment: There's a Super Bizarre Coincidence Surrounding the Ohio Train Disaster