Monday, August 13, 2012

What to do before, during and after the flood?

Don’t wait for another flood to learn what to do.  Now, before the flood, it is time to learn.  Let's first be informed of the different types of flooding.

Flooding can be divided into different categories according to their duration:

1. Slow-Onset Floods
Slow-Onset Floods usually last for a relatively longer period, it may last for one or more weeks, or even months. As this kind of flood last for a long period, it can lead to lose of stock, damage to agricultural products, roads and rail links.

2. Rapid-Onset Floods
Rapid-Onset Floods last for a relatively shorter period, they usually last for one or two days only. Although this kind of flood lasts for a shorter period, it can cause more damages and pose a greater risk to life and property as people usually have less time to take preventative action during rapid-onset floods.

3. Flash Floods
Flash Floods may occur within minutes or a few hours after heavy rainfall, tropical storm, failure of dams or levees or releases of ice jams. And it causes the greatest damages to society.

Flooding can also be divided into different categories according to their location:

1. Coastal Floods
Coastal Floods usually occur along coastal areas. When there are hurricanes and tropical storms which will produce heavy rains, or giant tidal waves created by volcanoes or earthquakes, ocean water may be driven onto the coastal areas and cause coastal floods.

2. Arroyos Floods
A arroyo is river which is normally dry. When there are storms approaching these areas, fast-moving river will normally form along the gully and cause damages.

3. River Floods
This is the most common type of flooding. When the actual amount of river flow is larger than the amount that the channel can hold, river will overflow its banks and flood the areas alongside the river. And this may cause by reasons like snow melt or heavy spring rain.

4. Urban Floods
In most of the urban area, roads are usually paved. With heavy rain, the large amount of rain water cannot be absorbed into the ground and leads to urban floods.

Here, in the Philippines, we get the weather forecasts and warnings from Philippines Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).  So, we must always tune-up to the news on TV or better yet, check the PAGASA site.

Here's the three latest color coding scheme of the Community-Based Flood Early Warning System (CBFEWS) under the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) project.

1.  YELLOW WARNING means heavy rains, measuring from 7.5 to 15 mm, had been observed in an hour and are expected to continue in the next two hours.  Residents are advised to monitor the weather condition and watch out for the next warning through various news channels because this much rain can cause flooding in low-lying areas and communities near river channels.

2.  ORANGE WARNING means intense rains, measuring from 15 to 30 mm, had been observed in an hour and are expected to continue in the next two hours.  Residents in high risk areas are advised to be alert and to get ready for possible evacuation due to the threat of floods.

3.   RED WARNING means that rains measuring more than 30 mm had been observed in an hour and are expected to continue in the next two hours.  Residents from low-lying areas and those near river channels are urged to evacuate immediately for serious flooding is expected.

It’s a good idea to have a basic kit ready at all times. This kit should comprise the items
• first-aid supplies
• torch/flashlight
• battery operated portable radio
• spare batteries for radio and torch
• gloves
If you live in the province you may have to move livestock, machinery, pumps, irrigation
equipment etc to high ground. Prepare by knowing the flood heights that affect your
property and knowing where higher ground can be found. Remember that higher ground
may become isolated with rising flood water. If you are likely to be isolated by flood
waters, paint the name of your property on the roof in large letters.  And if you live in the city, mostly the vehicles are affected, be sure to know where's the highest place in your area.

Here's the list of FLOOD SAFETY RULES:

Find out how often your location is likely to be flooded.
Know the flood warning system in your community and be sure your family knows it.
Keep informed of daily weather condition.
Designate an evacuation area for the family and livestock.
Assign family members instructions and responsibilities according to an evacuation plan.
Keep a stock of food which requires little cooking and refrigeration; electric power may be interrupted.
Keep a transistorized radio and flashlight with spare batteries, emergency cooking equipment, candies, matches and first aid kit handy in case of emergency.
Store supplies and other household effects above expected flood water level.
Securely anchor weak dwellings and items.

Watch for rapidly rising flood waters.
Listen to your radio for emergency instructions.
If you find it necessary to evacuate, move to a safe area before access is cut off by flood waters.
Store drinking water in containers, water service may be interrupted.
Move household belongings to upper levels.
Get livestock to higher ground.
Turn off electricity at the main switch in the building before evacuating and also lock your house.

Avoid areas subject to sudden flooding.
Do not attempt to cross rivers of flowing streams where water is above the knee.
Beware of water-covered roads and bridges.
Avoid unnecessary exposure to the elements.
Do not go swimming or boating in swollen rivers.
Eat only well-cooked food. Protect leftovers against contamination.
Drink clean or preferably boiled water ONLY.

Re-enter the dwellings with caution using flashlights, not lanterns or torchers. Flammables may be inside.
Be alert for fire hazards like broken wires.
Do not eat food and drink water until they have been checked for flood water contamination.
Report broken utility lines (electricity, water, gas and telephone) to appropriate agencies authorities.
Do not turn on the main switch or use appliances and other equipment until they have been checked by a competent electrician.
Consult health authorities for immunization requirements.
Do not go in disaster areas. Your presence might hamper rescue and other emergency operations.

ARTICLE CREDITS:,%20During%20and%20After%20a%20Flood.pdf

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