Natural Disasters: Stay Ready!

I’m not a climate researcher, I only know enough to make informed decisions. But, even I would be derelict to brush aside clear evidence that our climate has shown consistent signs of dramatic change. I think back to my early years in the Caribbean, back in the 80’s when major hurricanes, flooding and other natural disasters occurred on rare occasions. I recently spent a few years there and in that time span I witnessed more natural disasters than all others my parents, grandparents, uncles and similar wise elders have seen over their long lives in the region.

In fact, I’ve observed the same trends around the globe. Since last year massive snowstorms in the United States, floods in Australia, record drought in China and Russia (leading to massive wildfires) have put people’s lives at peril, as well as threaten our global food supply.

Since climate conditions don’t show any signs of improving over the coming decade and the global community don’t seem to agree on clear goals for tackling its effect, we as individuals should take the logical best option; which is learning as much as we can about the risks we face and preparing for unpredictable situations. With that in mind I would preface a number of preparedness tips by sharing information from cutting edge studies on root causes for the wild weather gyrations we’ve been experiencing.

Climate Tipping Points: (Source:

Scientists know from the geological record that the Earth’s climate can change rapidly. They have identified a number of potential tipping points where relatively small amounts of global warming caused by human activities could cause large changes in climate. Some tipping points, like the losses to the Amazon forests, involve positive feedback loops and could lead to runaway climate change.

Arctic ice cap: The white ice cap is good at reflecting the Sun’s warming light back into space. But when it melts, the dark ocean uncovered absorbs this heat. This leads to more melting, and so on.

Tundra: The high north is warming particularly fast, melting the permafrost that has locked up vast amounts of carbon in soils for thousands of years. Bacteria digesting the unfrozen soils generate methane, a potent greenhouse gas, leading to more warming.

Gas hydrates: Also involving methane, this tipping point involves huge reservoirs of methane frozen on or just below the ocean floor. The methane-water crystals are close to their melting point and highly unstable. A huge release could be triggered by a little warming.

West Antarctic ice sheet: Some scientists think this enormous ice sheet, much of which is below sea level, is vulnerable to small amounts of warming. If it all eventually melted, sea level would rise by six metres.

I’ll introduce a new slogan for this blog, which is “Protect People First”. That said, below are a few tips on protecting yourself when natural disasters strike.

If there are only moments to spare, you need to know how to react to everything from an earthquake to a tornado and a flood to hurricane. Study up on the basics so you can be decisive during the destruction:


Heed evacuation orders, first shutting off utilities. If you stay home, turn off gas lines and fill your tub with water. Secure shutters. During the storm, move to an interior room and close all doors.


If a flash-flood warning is issued, move to higher ground immediately–don’t wait to gather belongings. In any flood, avoid downed power lines and moving water. Six inches of moving water can make a pedestrian fall, while a foot will float most vehicles.


Once you hear a storm warning, tune to a weather radio (or similar emergency information source) for tornado alerts. If an alert comes, seek refuge in a basement–either your own or a neighbor’s–or go to an emergency shelter. As a last resort, stay on the lowest floor of your home. If you’re in a car as a tornado approaches, get out and seek shelter indoors. If you’re caught in the open, lie flat in a ditch or depression and cover your head with your hands.


Crawl under a sturdy table and cover your face and head with your arms. Stay away from windows and large bureaus or bookcases that could fall. If you become trapped under debris, cover your mouth with a cloth or shirt, and tap against a pipe or other object to make noise. (Don’t yell for help unless you have to; you risk inhaling dangerous quantities of dust.) If you are able, leave the building once the shaking stops–aftershocks can bring down a structure compromised by the initial quake. Finally, if you’re outside during the quake, steer clear of buildings and utility wires.


Contact your local fire department, health department or forestry office for information on fire laws. Make sure that fire vehicles can get to your home. Plan several escape routes away from your home – by car and by foot. Teach each family member how to use the fire extinguisher (ABC type) and show them where it’s kept.  Keep handy household items that can be-used as fire tools: a rake, axe, handsaw or chainsaw, bucket and shovel


Respiratory illnesses, such as the flu, are spread by coughing, sneezing and unclean hands. Because of this, one of the most important things you can do to stop flu transmission is to wash your hands frequently with soap and warm, clean water for 10-20 seconds. If running water is not available, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer can be used if your hands are not visibly soiled.  Since employees often spend up to eight hours a day in an office, breathing the same air and coming into contact with the same surfaces, the office can be a breeding ground for viruses and bacterial infections to spread. Pay close attention to personal and workplace hygiene.  During a flu outbreak, disinfecting is critical! Give special attention to highly touched environmental surfaces in your work area and office such as desks, keyboard/mouse, phones, printers, doorknobs, light switches, etc.

Last word on natural disaster preparedness: Do not undermine the power of social media as an early warning source of information. I personally use twitter to gather and forward information on risk conditions around the world. My experience has been that I ramp up intake of local and global developing situation faster and more accurately than any other media source. So, whatever your preference for staying connected, learn to harness the power of crowd-sourced information as your own miner’s canary.



Corporate Security Is a Force for Good

By Francisco Mateo

As a security manager at a major multinational organization, I’ve learned to embrace my profound responsibility to provide assistance in an extremely important mission; that of protecting staff and clients from a growing list of perils. However, convincing people you barely know to accept protection measures, that at face value may appear to run counter to their well-being, is no walk in the park. I can assure you of that, and that is what we must do every day. Yes, it’s a thank-less job, as many of my colleague would affirm; which is why we command pay equal to executives of the same level. At a profound level some of us also aspire to more lofty rewards, mainly knowing that we have direct input into keeping people safe while they travel; work in hostile environments and leverage the supply chain to bring safe products to consumers.  As I stated initially this is a task that gets evermore complex. It is one area of our daily duties that requires our focus and recognition of seemingly unknown threats as well as the know how to device swift countermeasures.

The evidence is plain to see.  Just think back to the tainted milk crisis in China which began in 2008.  After thousands of babies were hospitalized with kidney failure, the Chinese government declared a public health crisis that sparked a global recall of all powder milk products produced in China. The initial response understated the far reaching impact that the use of melamine, a carcinogenic substance, would have on food products.  China is to remain the world’s manufacturing hub, but their lack of controls over the use of dangerous raw materials is bound to continue as long as demand outstrips production output. For that reason consumer product companies have a duty of care to remain vigilant when sourcing raw materials or outsourcing manufacturing of consumer products.  We in the corporate security function can contribute our investigation skills by applying this know how to the due diligence process. We should not accept a third-party manufacturer’s claims of having the capacity to deliver products in time and to our quality specifications at face value. We must dig deeper into their safety records, production methods, compliance with international regulatory standards and even the moral compass that drives the operation to determine the likelihood that sham methods and corner-cutting could lead to tainted products that would put consumer’s health at risk.

Another area of concern to which corporate security has been active participant is combating counterfeit products. An off-shoot of the global economic growth, these seedy illicit business practices are the underbelly of globalization.  Aided by improved communications link, cheap transport and flexible (or simply corrupt) customs organizations, counterfeiters have blanketed many major markets with their cheap products. In some areas counterfeit products compete head to head with legitimate brands, eroding market share at fast clips. Beyond the downright theft of intellectual property, we know that counterfeiter’s illicit practices put the public safety and security at risk. Simply put they’re not in the business of delivering safe products to market, neither do they respond to the sovereign need of controlling which products cross national borders as well as paying the tariffs that should go to ensuring consumer safety. Furthermore, profits from counterfeit product sales have been known to go to terrorist organizations in furtherance of their deadly operations all over the world. Here too corporate security has a prime role to play liaising with law enforcement and customs official to disrupt the flow of counterfeit products in the supply chain. We are also educating our internal constituents to adopt unique marking and packaging technology to facilitate awareness among consumers to easily identify knockoff products. In a nutshell we can be the catalyst that makes this entire process come full circle.

Sometimes our advance risk scenario planning would project us into obscure areas, often only discussed in academic circles. Such is the case of bio-hacking, or the tinkering with the basic building blocks of life by many biology students and enthusiast worldwide—using cheap synthetic DNA and lab equipment bought inexpensively on the internet. Five years ago this wasn’t even on our radars, but the advent of cheap technology, the decoding of the genome, disposable lab equipment being bought and sold freely and bit of crowd-sourcing could lead to accidental or intentional development and release of deadly toxins.  In the past biological testing and engineering was conducted in heavily regulated and controlled government and university labs, thus bio-security (Biosecurity denotes policies and procedures designed to prevent the deliberate theft, diversion, or malicious use of high-consequence pathogens and toxins) remained the sole purview of government agencies.  Today with the growing DIY crowd experimenting with DNA from labs at home and other non-regulated facilities, there has been an increase emphasis on tracking this activity in order to keep people with nefarious intent away from these technologies. But there is also a high risk that gone-hoe hobbyists (even with benign purpose in mind) in the process of mixing or swapping genes would create deadly toxins without regards to obvious hazards to themselves and others.  Many of us are responsible for the protection of lab facilities, which is why we should be concerned about both the potential unauthorized removal of equipment and substances to further these independent (clandestine) research activities. Likewise, we should be concerned about the unauthorized used of these lab facilities in the same way. Corporate security should assist setting strict access control systems and procedures to ensure only authorized use of labs and equipment. Beyond this we should be considering sensors that would detect and alert us to the introduction or use of dangerous substances. All in all this is an emerging area of research we should remain aware of.

Some areas of business life have become difficult to manage especially when changes could come as fast as lighting, of course, I’m talking about business travel. To be specific I’m talking about disruption to travel due to natural or man-made disasters. It is often unpredictable and its impact could be widespread. Recently we’ve seen an increase in these Black Swan events, the winter storm and ash clouds in Europe as well as a number of high profile airline employee union strikes come to mind. All these events have in common the fact that hundreds of thousands of travelers were left stranded far from their final destinations. This in effect has also thrown a monkey wrench on company’s ability to make business travel plan on the fly.  Many in the corporate security function already track business traveler destinations as part of our value added service. Besides the jurisprudence that has been chiseled out around the issue of a company’s duty of care to guarantee employee safety while on business travel, there are no set standards of what companies should do. In the absence of such guidelines many practices have been developed. Employee tracking has become invaluable in light of the growing perils. Traveler destination data is often overlaid with open source intelligence to get early warning, which allows the security officer to alert travelers in a potential hot-zone. Furthermore, if the employee travel plans are disrupted due to any of the aforementioned hazards, alternative plans are arranged. If travel crisis strikes, emergency evacuations could be also be arranged. Advances in computing technology have also allowed us to tap quantitative models of both natural and man-made incident data to provide more predictive incident monitoring, which we can use to leverage prevention. In essence, the more we know about a particular destination the best prepared we are to guide travelers whether to go or not.  It is a task we take extremely serious, since a wrong call means that lives could be at stake.

From Antiquity to the Contemporary periods, works of art make up an important part of our shared human experience. The sum trust of our humanities, elegantly displayed in museums, galleries and private collections the world over. But in our modern times it is not this human genius that is in vogue. No, what we’ve experienced is the opposite, the dark side of our humanity that only sees value, summed up in monetary profits, when they lay eyes on the greatest work of arts known to human kind.  The trend in art theft is truly appalling. Art thieves have become more brazen in their hits, striking in broad daylight. In the past we’ve witnessed certain sophistication in the schemes employed by art thieves. Today, they’ve mostly exploited holes in museums and art gallery’s physical security array. A quick cost/benefit analysis comparing the value of paintings and other work of arts versus the security measures available at the time of the thefts would reveal the pyrrhic victory of the latter. Yes, it is true that many of the endowments that financially anchor these institutions have been reeling, with lower contributions due to the global financial crisis.  It’s likely that many essential services have been scaled back in cost cutting measures. Security practitioners can play a decisive role here, volunteering time and contributing our know how by conducting risk assessment (Analyzing foot-traffic flow data, behavioral analysis, contractor and employee screening, etc.) to determine vulnerabilities and recommending security countermeasures that can be delivered at lower cost. The same “lean security” principles applied to corporate security operations can add tremendous value to keeping art works safe and sound for all to enjoy.

As we look over the horizon, the perils would continue to get more complex. A recent commentator put it this way “”we are living in a world of cascading and intertwined threats…” in reference to the way risk is compounded and overlaps, paving the way to catastrophic failures. Whether man-made or natural, our risk scenarios are evolving, thus it is time for trained professionals to step up to plate and help organized solutions for the good of our society. In the age of corporate social responsibility, we security practitioners within major industries should be doing more to contribute our knowledge and leveraging resources to make our societies more resilient to shocks.

Are Crisis Management Plans Strategically Important? Just Ask BP

As a professional I’ve seen the high level of planning dedicated to crisis management at a multinational corporation, which is why I’m completely baffled by the response to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  I have watched, in disbelief, long enough to know this environmental tragedy was foreseeable and could’ve been at best averted and at the very least planned for minimum impact when disaster struck.

I have learned recently that when responding to a crisis many companies make one fundamental mistake, which is focusing on their expertise (what they know best). There are, however, other elements that impact a relationship genuinely based on trust.  Amazingly the companies involved in this mess have managed to botch their alleged expertise on managing off-shore drilling and its collateral impact to employee safety and the fragile ecosystems around their extraction operations.

I don’t portend to come across as an expert on the field of Crisis Management, but I’ve been through the wringer enough times to pin point a number of mistakes.  The real experts seem to be in agreement that the response has been marked by a series of mistakes—akin to a comedy of errors:

BP spill response tars reputation

Risk To Maritime Transport

“Ships may move slowly, but they can carry far more cargo than more recently invented modes of transportation such as planes, trains, and trucks, according to the U.N. Conference on Trade and Development in its “Review of Maritime Transport 2009.” – Foreign Policy

According to this article 80% of the world’s cargo is transported via cargo ships.  That said, the fact that we are so heavily dependant on this mode of transportation adds a great layer of risks to global trade. It begs two important questions: first, what are the risks associated with maritime transport around the world? And, second how are they mitigated?

First I’d focus on the Piracy problem, which ranks high on the maritime transport industry’s risk charts. The fact of the matter is that tankers and cargo ships are being hijacked on the high seas at an alarming rate. Since 2008 pirates off the coast of Somalia have up the ante, taking to firing automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades on their way to making cargo ship hijacking into a growth industry.  Piracy has not only added additional cost of doing business for ship operators, but avoiding hotspots aggregates additional time to complete trips as ships sail around the Cape of Good Hope. Navigating this alternative route can take two to three extra weeks, saddling the industry with inefficiencies.

Consequently, what can cargo vessel owners do to deter/repel attacks?  They’re teaching their crew to fishtail (evasive maneuvers) their vessels at high speed, drive off intruders with high-pressure water hoses and illuminate their decks with floodlights, or emitting deafening sound waves from special devices. They’re also working on prevention protocols, mandating “pirate watches,” learning to use hoses and conduct frequent drills with alarms indicating when the ship has been boarded. They also take account of the fact that it is illegal for crews to carry weapons in the territorial waters of many nations, and many ship captains are wary of arming crew members for fear of mutinies. If gunpowder is your kind of deterrence, than go with the pros. Many PMC’s have began offering their ship protection services in the Gulf of Aden, Malacca Straits and other piracy hotspots. Of course the latter countermeasure is not without its share of controversy.

A second threat to the maritime transport industry, with high potential for disruption, is political risk. A particular concern today is the Strait of Hormuz, that narrow stretch of sea between Iran and the United Arab Emirates and Oman to its south that connects the Persian Gulf to open international waters where approximately 40 per cent of global ship-borne crude oil passes through on its way to the West.  According to the US-based Energy Information Administration, an average of 15 tankers carry 16-17 million tonnes of crude oil through the Strait every day. Needless to say this is the world’s most sensitive choke-point for vessels transporting oil. Add in the element that Iran, leveraging its sovereign territorial rights over these waters, could seek to blockade commercial traffic through the Strait of Hormuz, given an escalation of its conflict with the West.  It is indeed a factor that should be playing out in scenario planning sessions for both industries concerned.

As far as countermeasures are concern, political risk, especially the aforementioned example, is obviously an issue with implications beyond the maritime transport industry.  It’s indeed a prime policy issue on the diplomatic agenda for the US, China and Russia. The maritime industry however can’t sit around and wait for a diplomatic resolution. It must instead develop a business continuity portfolio. Knowing that such risk exposure can’t be fully avoided, ship operators should focus on strategic planning, “Mapping key supplier dependencies is the first step in taking control of the risk exposures. By identifying single-point failures and quantifying exposures, organizations can take conscious decisions to mitigate exposures.” Like the piracy issue the industry can mitigate part of the hazards through “political risk insurance” to offset the cost of rerouting its cargo. Unlike the piracy problem however, ship owners cannot deploy armed response in a potential conflict zone.

Quiz: What percentage of world trade is carried on ships?

How a Crisis Management Team Works

By Francisco Mateo

The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word ‘crisis.’ One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity. In a crisis, be aware of the danger – but recognize the opportunity 

-John F. Kennedy

All efficient crisis management requires an effective, multi-disciplinary team of professionals to deal with such abnormal business conditions.  No other business discipline has become more strategic for both global and local (Or a combination of the two Glocal) businesses today. For proof just look at the headlines; Toyota, the largest car manufacturer in the world is dealing with massive global recalls of its best selling car models.  Even Honda has joined the act with an ongoing global recall of some popular models.  And who can dismiss the magnitude of the Port-au-Prince, Haiti Earthquake which destroyed the entire city and has dominated the headlines since last month.  Tackling such large scale crisis requires extensive planning before the fact, as well as dexterity in the crisis team’s execution.  I will attempt to synthesize in a few paragraphs the make-up and essence of an effective crisis management team as I’ve seen it in real life scenarios.

I’ll start by basing my hypothesis of the ideal crisis management team on key crisis cornerstones (basically the before, during and after scenarios):

  • Crisis Preparedness
  • Crisis Management
  • Post Crisis & Post Mortem

From here I’ll build the different moving parts that would culminate in the efficient and effective execution by a crisis team.  The first order of business is to formulate a clear and distinct strategy to act, as foundation and execution model. Remember that despite recruiting and training a team and making plans to deal with a real crisis, the guiding star for the organization should be crisis prevention.

The old adage “know your business from top to bottom…and side to side” is indeed practical when tackling a corporate crisis. This holistic approach should start from the R&D to the tail end of your supply chain. Yes, that applies to your suppliers as well. I few months ago I posted about this very topic and it is still relevant at this time. In a nutshell it states that if we took an all-hazards scenario planning approach to natural or man-made disasters; etc., we wouldn’t need to focus on crisis management. The fact of the matter is that we are mostly reluctant to accept these deviations from the norm; therefore, we must come to grips with the fact that crisis preparedness is everyone’s responsibility; even more so for the men and women tasked with dealing with the crisis.  Once you have your team assembled, do your organization a favor and draw a list of possible risk scenarios. The process calls for collecting and screening information; understanding and evaluating those risk scenarios the team drew up prior; agreeing on a decision matrix to facilitate the execution and finally, developing control methods to audit the throughput.

Next step is your communication strategy. Remember that to regulate the crisis flow you must wrap your arms around the message.  Handled correctly your communication plan would help you defuse situational pressure and buy yourself time to execute the rest of your plan. The first order of business for the team is to gain influence over the message communicated to the general public regarding the event, as well as external decisions made to guarantee public safety.  For that matter the crisis team has to ensure good relations with the media and local authorities. Another important fact as evidence in the Toyota crisis is that nurturing a presence in new media (social media, blogs, etc.) is a worthy investment.

Once the crisis team has established the crisis scenarios; identified the stakeholders and defined internal/external lines of communication, it’s now time to rehearse.  It is the crisis leader’s responsibility to set up table-top exercises and other crises simulations. Since crisis are very rare events the stakeholders need to refresh their recollection in order to keep the skills top of mind.  At the same time participation in drills helps to maintain contact data and other aging information relevant.

As in the Toyota case where cultural barriers and corporate practices have crippled companies with a lack of crisis management focus, a team must labor extra hard at the planning stages to ensure senior management buy in and commitment from the entire organization.

It’s tough enough you must manage flaw-less execution under pressure chamber like conditions during a crisis, but if all else fails remember this, you must have faith, be confident in your abilities and research past experiences; it has all been done before.  Jim Collins said it best “No. 1, in times of great duress, tumult, and uncertainty, you have to have moorings.” If your team needs a mantra Mr. Collins offers a good one “If there’s a storm on the mountain, more important than the plan are the people you have with you.”  When you find yourself in the eye of the storm is not the time to build a crack team of crisis ninjas. Much aforethought, in the way of scenario planning should’ve been given for optimal protection of your consumers and reputation.

But now is time to grab the bull by horn or the bullhorn for that matter.  Remember that a sustainable crisis management position calls for swiftly establishing and communicating the situation; fast and efficient communication flow is paramount; globally consistent crisis system and clearly defined procedures and role are all logical steps the team should take. The crisis management team should consider some aspects of how the organization markets its services or products in order to replicate its information campaign through the same marketing channels; this would not only be a coherent approach, but would also send the message to the right target market, those customers that bought into your company’s product. 

How a crisis unfolds depends on countless factors which make the outcome unpredictable.  But if things go south and there are SNAFUs, as Marshall Goldsmith wrote in a recent article, remember to keep the finger-pointing to a minimum.  His 7 Steps process is a good guide to ensure your team becomes more cohesive and stronger.  They are important lessons to be learned from every crisis; with proper documentation you’ll preserve the actions taken (Good and bad) for posterity. One thing the team should never lose site of is the enormous opportunities that a crisis brings.  At no other time is the world more engaged with your company and its brands than during a crisis, it’s human nature, we’re wired that way for the most part. It is still an opportunity for the organization to show its innovation prowess by learning on the fly; its nimbleness at adapting its message as new information becomes available and drawing from the responses to fix the problems that gave way to the crisis, so that it doesn’t happen again. Adapting to the new reality starts with deep reflection on what went wrong and what the organization did right to solve it.

In conclusion, recruiting and training a crisis management team is one of the most strategically important decisions an organization should make. How the team performs during a crisis event is commensurate to the quality of training done prior to any crisis; foreseeable or not. We should all learn the lessons from past and present corporate crisis, issues that may seem small can quickly snowball sweeping away customer confidence and your reputation. Crisis prevention and preparedness could be a cheaper option against those odds.

Can We Make Buildings Resilient To Earthquakes?

By Francisco Mateo

The recent earthquake in Haiti and the human tragedy that it left in its wake has many security and risk practitioners wondering what more can be done to ensure we properly protect our assets against this devastating force of nature.  Just looking at the aftermath, the presidential palace; UN compound; the Montana Hotel and other important buildings all completely collapsed, makes anyone guess if more could’ve been done. At one of my crisis management meeting recently I raised the issue to our real estate/facilities department; how resistant are our buildings to an earthquake of such magnitudes? If our buildings, especially those above three stories high, can’t withstand the force of an earthquake above 6 points on the Richter scale, than we need to make sure we hire the right civil engineers to improve the buildings’ structural soundness.

We soon realized that not all civil engineers are experts on earthquake prevention on the built environment.  Luckily our technological advancement allows us to apply sophisticated software tools to the analysis of all variables related to a built structure and simulate any seismic activity to determine how it will affect your building, as well as, recommend the redesigns needed in order to make it more resilient. 

If we can draw one important lesson from the deep pain and suffering that the Haitian people are immersed today; it’s that as a matter of prevention to natural disasters we need to build better structures or improve those that have already been built.

Lessons In Crisis Management

Most contingency plans fall victim to analysis paralysis, that’s because we spend so much time error-proofing the plan against all possible scenarios that we failed to build in the proper flexibility needed to adapt to changes.  As a crisis progresses many new information needs to be formulated to get the right equation.  The following article from Risk Management’s Regina Phelps details 4 lessons learned from the H1N1 outbreak that should be revised and properly codified in your response plans:  

Lessons From H1N1’s First Wave
Risk Management (11/09) Vol. 56, No. 9, P. 26; Phelps, Regina

The recent outbreak of the H1N1 flu virus has taught many corporate risk managers that having a plan in place is not sufficient. One of the biggest problems so far has been that most corporate risk officers failed to pressure-test their response strategies with either functional or table-top exercises. Second, employees will come to their corporate risk managers for assurance and answers. Expedient and efficient communication can differentiate between a considered and timely response and a distracted and hurried response. Third, H1N1 is unusual in that most of its victims are younger workers, meaning the virus has especially worrisome consequences for the business community. To minimize absenteeism, employers should categorize workers into four groups: essential to job site; essential but can work from home; nonessential but can work from home; and nonessential and not necessary to work remotely. Businesses should offer the highest level of protection to employees who are essential to the job site. Risk managers must remember that certain groups are more susceptible to the virus, including those with asthma, diabetes, chronic medical conditions, and pregnant women.

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