Among the factors affecting a major part of the population in Pakistan has been the unprecedented rains during the monsoon season, leading to floods in different parts of the country. In this article, we will discuss safety and precautionary measures that you can take to protect yourself and your family during monsoon rains and floods.
Measures to take before Monsoon or Rainy Season
You can take several measures before, during, and after monsoon rains and floods to keep yourself and your family safe from potential hazards.
- Home Repairs and Maintenance
Before the onset of monsoon season, make sure that you have carried out all important home repair and maintenance work including the following:
- Ensure your roof has no leakages and cracks.
- Ensure water drains on your roof are in perfect condition and are not blocked.
- Ensure your windowsills have no leakages so rainwater cannot enter your rooms through it.
- Eure your door frames are stable as broken frames can lead to doors breaking from pressure of flood water.
- Your underground water tanks are sealed and secured so rain and flood water cannot enter it. This can contaminate your water supply and cause water-borne diseases including typhoid, cholera, Hepatitis A, etc.
- Street cleaning
Before the onset of monsoon season or imminent flood:
- Ensure that all water drains in your streets are clean and not blocked as it can causes water clogging.
- Make sure there is no trash lying on your street, it can flow with the rainwater and clog the drains or rainwater can accumulate in the trash providing a breeding place to mosquitoes,
- Make sure that all gutters and manholes on your street are covered with lids so people do not fall in them,
- If there is any major repair or sanitation work needed on your street, make sure you contact your local body representatives or your municipal authorities.
- Cattle vaccination
If you have cattle or livestock, make sure to vaccinate them before the onset of monsoon to ensure they are safe from viral diseases that spread during the season.
Measures to take Before Flood
You can take following measures to prepare for any flood-like situation in your area and ensure your safety:
- Keep yourself updated
It is extremely important to keep yourself updated with the weather situation in your area during monsoon.
- Listen to the weather forecast on TV or radio, or get updates from reliable information sources,
- Check if your local disaster management authority has released any alerts for your area.
- Follow guidelines issued by authorities
Authorities have a better understanding of on-ground situations and emergency relief actions which makes it important to:
- Closely follow the guidelines issued by your local authorities regarding floods to ensure your safety,
- Ensure that you have the emergency response numbers of your local disaster management authority/committee and your local body representatives,
- Keep in touch with authorities and your representatives to ensure that you have not missed any alert or news regarding floods,
- Ensure that your family and neighbors are informed about the situation and know safety guidelines.
- Keep Medical Emergency Kits and stock essential medicines
Emergency medical kits or first aid kits are essential and should be present at your home all the time but in case of imminent flood it becomes even more necessary.
- Make sure your first aid kit is stocked up on all essentials, and the medicines in it are not expired,
- Bandages, antiseptic liquids, and topical anti-bacterial ointments are extremely important, but for the flooding situation make sure that you have packets of electrolytes (ORS/Nimcol handy) along with medicines for diarrhea and stomach bugs,
- Paracetamol, Ibuprofen, and anti-allergic medications are also important,
- Keep first aid kit at a higher place in your home, safe from flood water, and easily reachable,
- If you have any patients at home who take's medicine regularly, and make sure you have a substantial stock of the medicine they take.
You can buy a first aid kit from any medical store near you or assemble one yourself with the help of these guidelines.
- Stock up on groceries and drinking water
- Make sure you have enough stock of food especially dry food like pulses, rice, flour, sugar, and oil.
- Also, make sure that you have food that does not require cooking like channa, bread loaves, biscuits, etc., so in case you lose your gas connection you have food to eat,
- If you have babies at home, make sure you have their essential food in stock,
- Store plenty of drinking water and make arrangements to boil water or if you use water filter, make sure you have a spare set of cartridges.
- Get Mosquito Net and Repellent
Flooding can boost the mosquito population, which can lead to malaria or dengue, it is extremely important to have mosquito repellents and mosquito nets so you and your children can sleep safely.
Note: Mustard oil is a very effective and safe mosquito repellent. You can use put it on your body to keep mosquitoes away.
- Pack your important documents
Pack your important documents – like CNIC, B-Form, passport, educational certificates, property documents, medical records– in a well-sealed plastic bag and in a higher place out of flood water.
- Keep emergency cash
Make sure you have cash stored in a safe place away from flood water that you can use in case of any major emergency.
- Charge your electronic devices
Ensure the following devices are charged:
- Make sure that you have fully charged your mobile phones and other electronic devices,
- Charge power banks that you use for charging your mobile phones,
- Recharge batteries of rechargeable lights and torches,
- Get candles, match-stick boxes, and a bottle of kerosene oil so you have alternative light sources in case you lose electricity.
- Make an evacuation plan
If you live on riverbank, near any water reservoir or major water drain, you might need to evacuate your house in case of flooding to ensure your and your family’s safety. In that case, make sure:
- You are updated on all kinds of alerts and evacuation calls your local authorities issue to public,
- You have arranged a source of transportation for your family and your essential belongings,
- You are updated on routes you can take to ensure you do not get stuck in a flooded area,
- The place/area you are evacuating to is not prone to flood.
- Pack/ move your furniture
If you do not have to evacuate completely but fear that flood water might enter your house, you can take the following measures to ensure that your valuables are not damaged,
- Pack and move your furniture to the first floor of your house,
- Roll up any carpets you have and move them to the first floor of your house,
- Pack your clothes and other essentials to store away if you fear flood water might enter your cupboards.
Measures to take During Flood
You can take the following measures during rainstorms and flood to ensure your safety,
- Keep yourself updated with flood alerts
Stay updated on any flood alerts or evacuation orders that your local authorities issue through your local mosque, TV, radio, or internet.
- Keep away from electricity poles and trees
In case of rainstorm or flood,
- Stay away from electricity poles and high transmission lines.
- Do not walk around in rainwater, especially near electricity poles or lines to avoid electrocution.
- Do not take shelter under trees as trees can fall, leading to serious injuries.
- Do not tie any cattle to electricity poles or trees.
- Avoid going near riverbeds and water bodies
Water current and tide in rivers during monsoon season is very high avoid going near them or swimming as it can lead to drowning.
- Take shelter in high altitude places
- In case flood water has started accumulating in your streets or is entering you house, take shelter on the top floor of your house.
- If your local authorities have issued evacuation orders, evacuate your house with your family and move towards one higher altitude area with low flood risk.
- Be careful while using electric appliances
- Be careful while plugging in or touching electric appliances during rain as chances of electrocution are high. Wear rubber or plastic shoes/slippers when plugging in devices.
- If flood water enters your house, turn off your electric appliances and electronic devices. And move them to a safer place.
- Avoid walking or driving in flood water
Flood water carries many diseases, insects, snakes, and other objects like broken glass that can seriously threaten your health and well-being.
- Avoid unnecessary movement in the flood water. If necessary, then use a stick to check for snakes or other objects on the ground before stepping.
- Use knee-length rubber shoes to walk thru rain or use a shopping bag in place of socks to avoid direct contact with the water,
- Do not drive in flood water as you can get washed away.
- Food and Water Consumption
- Do not consume any food that has come in direct contact with flood water or food that has gotten moist as it can lead to diarrhea or other diseases,
- Do not drink flood water or water directly from your municipality connection. Only drink boiled or filtered water.
If your local authorities order you to evacuate your house, evacuate immediately with your essentials, cash, and your important documents,
In case of evacuation, make sure that your main power plug is disconnected and your main gas valve is shut to avoid any unfortunate incident.
- Contact your local authorities or NDMA/PDMA
If you need any assistance with evacuation or relief during the flood, you can contact your local authorities or National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) or Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA). The contact information is as follows,
- National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA): 051-111-157-157 and 051-9205037
- Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) Punjab: 1129 and 042-99203162
- Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: 1700, 0316-4261700
- Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) Balochistan: 081- 9241133, 0334-9241133 and 081-111-400-400
- Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) Sindh: 1736
- State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) Azad Jammu & Kashmir: 05822-921536, 921643
- Gilgit Baltistan Disaster Management Authority (GBDMA): 05811-920974, 922030
Or you can also call Rescue 1122 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab.
Measures to take After Flood
You should take following precautionary measures once the flood is over and flood water recedes.
- Do not go back home unless advised by authorities
If you have evacuated your house due to flood, do not go back until the authorities advises it and give proper clearance.
- Avoid walking in stagnant flood water
- Do not walk in stagnant flood water as it might carry diseases or might cause skin allergies.
- Do not let children out of house till the streets are clear completely.
- Avoid touching or going near electric poles
- Even after rain is over, there are high chances of electric current passing through electric poles. Avoid touching or going near electric poles to avoid electrocution.
- Wear rubber boots or rubber shoes if you cannot avoid walking in stagnant flood or rainwater.
- Boil drinking water
Before drinking, boil water as it might carry diseases or viruses that can lead to illnesses and outbreaks.
- Ensure the cleanliness of your streets
If there is any stagnant flood or rainwater on your street, contact your local authorities to get it cleaned to avoid any disease outbreak.
- Report any disease outbreak
If you observe any disease outbreak in your surroundings, report it immediately to your District Health Office so all necessary measures can be taken to control it.
- Get your walls checked
Get your boundary walls checked in case they have weakened due to flood water to avoid any mishap.
- Get your cattle/livestock checked
- If you have cattle or livestock, take proper care of their food and water to ensure you are not feeding them anything carrying any disease.
- Get your livestock checked by a vet to ensure they have not caught any disease or virus.
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