Health and safety risks after a natural disaster

After a natural disaster, there are always health and safety risks that need to be taken into consideration for the safety and wellbeing of the family and community at large.

Many health risks are associated with the state of the surroundings, whether it is clean and hygienic or littered with rubbish.

Mosquito-borne diseases are one of the health risks after a disaster as floodwaters and water collected into rubbish piles and dumps create new breeding places for mosquitoes.

Malaria and dengue fever are two mosquito-borne diseases that can easily be prevented by destroying the common breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

Below are some common breeding places for mosquitoes:

* Old tyres;

* Open containers such as cans, jars, bottles and anything that can store water;

* Hollow trees that may have been chopped off living space for water to collect;

* Water gardens;

* Drains and ditches that are blocked by rubbish;

Ways you can help eliminate mosquito breeding grounds:

* Dispose old tyres, buckets, ceramic pots and other containers in your yard that may collect water;

* Fill in tree rot holes and hollow stumps that hold water;

* Drill holes into the bottom of tyre swings;

* At least once per week, empty standing water from containers, including bird feeders on your property;

* Drill holes in the bottom of recycling containers that are left outdoors. Drainage holes in the sides of containers allow sufficient water to collect in which mosquitoes may breed;

* Clean clogged roof gutters, particularly if the leaves from surrounding trees have a tendency to plug up the drains. Flooded roof gutters are easily overlooked but can produce hundreds of mosquitoes each season;

* Turn over wheelbarrows when not in use;

* Store boats covered or upside down, or remove rainwater weekly;

* Keep drains, ditches and culverts free of grass clippings, weeds and trash so water will drain properly;

* Fill in low areas on your property to eliminate standing water.

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