One month after several rounds of devastating floods and mudslides waterlogged parts of Venezuela in December and January, the country and government are trying to come to grips with the damage and begin reconstruction efforts. They are also trying to limit potential health risks that can arise following natural disasters. Epidemics, however, rarely occur following a disaster, according to Jean-Luc Poncelet, a doctor with the Pan American Health Organization.

Between 25,000 and 50,000 people in Venezuela were killed, and about 150,000 displaced, according to local and international aid authorities. In addition,Venezuelan national authorities have declared part of the Port of La Guaira as a dangerous chemical zone because of ruptured containers of dangerous chemicals, hundreds of kilometers of the Caribbean coast have been closed to fishing and swimming because of contaminated runoff from the floods, roads remain blocked, and the lack of potable water is a key concern.