Updated: June 24, 2021 11:49:20 am
Officials at a prison in Australia had to evacuate its inmates after a mice invasion caused havoc and broke down the building’s infrastructure.
Around 420 inmates and 200 staff members of the Wellington Correctional Centre in New South Wales state had to be transferred to other prisons, Associated Press reported.
The staff would have to clean and repair the damage as mice gnawed large parts of electrical wiring and wrecked ceiling panels. They also need to remove the dead and decaying mice from walls and ceilings.
“The health, safety, and wellbeing of staff and inmates is our No. 1 priority so it’s important for us to act now to carry out the vital remediation work,” Corrective Services Commissioner Peter Severin told the news agency. “The mice have got into … wall cavities, into roof spaces. They’re dead but then they start obviously decaying and then the next problem is mites.”
The mice infestation was worse in prison buildings that weren’t built from concrete, said the report. The repair work at the prison would also include looking at the ways of protecting the facility from future plagues.
The mice broke into the prison because it was in a rural area, reported CNN. Australia has been plagued by rodents who have devoured crops and invaded homes, schools and hospitals, causing millions of dollars of damage.
People have reported being bitten by mice in bed while mouse carcasses and excreta have polluted farmers’ water tanks, causing sickness in the area, the agency reported. People have also complained about the stench of mice urine and decaying flesh.
The mice outbreak is not a new phenomenon. These invasions have been happening more frequently in the past decade. Plagues usually happen when rain follows several years of drought.
According to the CNN report, in 2020 New South Wales saw almost as much rain as it did in the previous two years combined. This created ideal conditions for mice to breed. But the number is beginning to plateau, as the season changes to winter—mice stop breeding by this season, according to the report.
The government has considered helping farmers end the mice plague by giving free rodenticide poison and mice-killing chemicals, the news website reported.
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