The entire Lower 9th Ward in New Orleans will be open to residents for “look and leave” visitation beginning Thursday, Dec. 1, 2005.
Since the neighborhood was heavily damaged, officials are urging only healthy adult residents to return. No elderly people, children or those with special needs or health problems should enter the area because of potential risks.
The area will be open for visitation from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. No one can remain after dark; all city curfews are in effect. Residents will enter and exit the neighborhood via the St. Claude Avenue Bridge.
There is a command center for residents at Caffin and Claiborne Avenues where information, food, water, ice, portable restrooms, counseling and more will be available. New Orleans Police Department and National Guard vehicles will patrol the streets if residents need assistance.
An information sheet for returning residents includes the following important tips:
* Use gloves, boots and coveralls. Wash all soiled clothing and equipment.
* Do not enter heavily damaged structures.
* Drink bottled water throughout the day to prevent heat exhaustion and dehydration.
* Protect yourself from mold and bacteria. Wear particulate masks. Extreme areas require the use of respirators. If an area is extremely moldy, stay away. Do not expose children or elderly residents to moldy buildings.
* Use insect repellant to prevent mosquito bites, as there may be more mosquitoes than normal.
* Watch for wild and domestic animals. Some of them are more aggressive than normal because of the stresses they have undergone. Disinfect any wounds and bites immediately and seek medical care as soon as possible.
* You should have a recent tetanus shot before entering the area. Tetanus shots are good for 10 years. Booster shots are available at all open health clinics.
* The Salvation Army will have mobile feeding units and adequate counselors on duty.
* Red Cross and FEMA representatives will be available to provide information.
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