During times of natural disaster, many people will turn to the health professionals and experts that they previously only relied on for mundane information in the past. The flooding in Xerém was one such case where a natural disaster occurred and a health leader like Sergio Cortes became the expert on the field for helping people who had been affected, but not killed by the flood. Among many other things, Sergio Cortes has worked to provide education on the aftermath of the flood, help with the diseases that could be spreading more quickly as a result of the flood and help the citizens get the dietary resources they need during these trying times.
Even if a citizen has been through a flood before, they may not know exactly what they need to do after the flood has happened. It is Sergio Cortes’s main priority to tell these people what they need to be doing to protect themselves after the flood. Finding a clean, dry place to use as a shelter is the first step and finding a great source of food and fresh water is the second step, as recommended by Sergio Cortes. There are many options when it comes to helping oneself after a flood.
Since floodwater can pick up germs, disease and even waste products, it is easy for people to catch diseases immediately after a flood. This poses a major risk, nearly as bad as the flooding, and causes people to perish after the fact. Sergio Cortes wants to address the disease, give the people of the community better ways to avoid it and offer them treatment options to help them be better equipped if they do catch the disease. He does this through education of diseases and medication to treat the diseases.
Once there has been a flood, the water supply can quickly become contaminated. After the flood, it is important to drink bottled water or water that is imported from an area that has not been affected by the flood. The people of Xerém have been advised by Sergio Cortes to only drink bottled water to ensure that they do not catch any of the diseases spreading through floodwater. They have also been advised not to eat any food that was grown locally and try to avoid anything other than prepackaged food until the risk of contamination of the water supply as a result of the flood is eliminated.