As Puerto Rico and the US and British Virgin Islands continue to carry the burden of recovery and reconstruction in the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, it has become obvious that no government has the resources deal with the monumental task of cleanup, recovery and reconstruction. That is one of the reasons why organizations like the Red Cross, FEMA, DFID and other relief organizations exist. With this in mind, there are a number of things that a community can do to begin the process of getting their neighborhoods and lives back to close to normal. The subject is too broad for a few lines, but here are some of the key recommendations based on decades of relief work.

1. Separate any debris generated by the event from the outside walls of a house or shelter. Debris like tree branches, portions of roofs, etc. provide excellent shelter for rodents. Any debris left against a home will rodents easy access to a home. While this may not seem critical, keep in mind that rodent cannot control their bladders or intestinal track and will contaminate a lot more food than they will eat. In addition, they are known to be carriers of a number of diseases, including leptospirosis, a common one after many disasters.

2. Cover any container used to collect rain water with a screen or solid lid. These containers are preferred by Aedes aegypti and her cousin Aedes albopictus to deposit their eggs. These two ladies are capable of transmitting dengue, chikungunya and zika.

3. Empty any location holding water to keep mosquitoes from using it. If this is not possible, add sand or dirt to it if it looks like it will hold water longer than four days.

4. Wash your hands thoroughly before any meal. This will minimize cross contamination and reduce the chances of developing diarrhea.

We will post additional recommendations. Feel free to contact us if you have any question.

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