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Most of us have seen pictures or photographs of flood-hit areas either in the newspapers or on the TV screen. Floods usually occur in the rainy season when abundant supply of surface water combined with the situation of high water table causes water to overflow. In general terms, we define to overflow. In general terms we define flood as a situation when the river overflows its banks and the water spreads in the surrounding areas submerging them.

The floodwater causes danger to the people, buildings, animals, crops etc. This danger is called FLOOD HAZARD.

Causes Of Flood

Sometimes when a particular area experiences heavy rainfall the excess rain water runes through numerous channels or tributaries, which feed into the main river, thereby increasing the volume of the river water. This increase the volume of water, which cannot be contained within the banks of river, overflows and causes floods. The heavy monsoon rainfalls are the chief causes f floods.

Landslides mainly take place during the rainy season. Landslides often block the channels and due to this blockade the water overflow its banks causing floods.

Occasionally the narrowness of the riverbed becomes the cause of floods.

Flood Affected Area

Floods are a common occurrence in many countries. In India the Northern and Eastern regions are vulnerable to floods and the Brahmaputra and Ganga basins are more susceptible to them.

In India floods occurs mainly at that time of the year when the South-West Monsoon is active from June to September.

Almost twenty-three states and union territories of India are subject to floods. However the most affected states are Assam, West Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Orissa. Floods also occur in Gujarat, Punjab, Haryana, Tamilnadu and North-Eastern states of India. The most flood prone areas lie in Ganga-Brahmaputra basin.

Effect Of Flood

Floods have ravaged many part of India. With increasing population pressure and accelerated economic development, the adverse effects of floods are being increasingly felt now. Floods cause great distress as they damage crops, property and also endanger life.

All over the world natural disasters have imposed untold human suffering and extracted heavy toll of losses. Recent instances have revealed that it is not only the developing countries that have suffered from floods but also the developed nations, who have high standards of construction and extensive measures of protection. Cultivable and cultivated areas get submerged and eroded, leading to the loss of soil as well as crops, which further lead to famine-like conditions.

Many houses are destroyed completely while some may face partial damage. Public and the private utility services and industries also face heavy damages. Economic activities breakdown leading to loss of wealth.

Preparing to Mitigate Flood Disasters

A detailed planning for prompt and efficient action in response to the anticipated event is called DISASTER PREAREDNESS. For disaster preparedness, comprehensive measures are needed. People should be educated and made aware of the steps to be taken in the event of a mishap. Timely warnings are to be issued and elderly people should be evacuated to safe shelters on emergency basis.

Before flooding occurs.

  • All your family members should know the safe route to nearest shelter/ raised pucca house.
  • If your area is flood-prone, consider alternative building materials. Mud walls are more likely to be damaged during floods. You may consider making houses where the walls are made of local bricks up to the highest known flood level with cement pointing.
  • Have an emergency kit on hand which includes a:
  •     1.A portable radio, torch and spare batteries;
         2.Stocks of fresh water, dry food (chura, mudi, gur, biscuits), kerosene, candle and matchboxes;
         3.Waterproof or polythene bags for clothing and valuables, an umbrella and bamboo stick (to protect from snake), salt and sugar.
         4.A first aid kit, manual and strong ropes for tying things

    When you hear a flood warning or if flooding appears likely

  • Tune to your local radio/TV for warnings and advice.
  •      1.Keep vigil on flood warning given by local authorities
         2.Don’t give any importance to rumours and don’t panic
         3.Keep dry food, drinking water and clothes ready
  • Prepare to take bullock carts, other agricultural equipments, and domestic animals to safer places or to higher locations.
  • Plan which indoor items you will raise or empty if water threatens to enter your house
  • Check your emergency kit
  • During floods

  • Drink boiled water.
  • Keep your food covered, don’t take heavy meals.
  • Use raw tea, rice-water, tender coconut-water, etc. during diarrhoea; contact your ANM/AWW for ORS and treatment.
  • Do not let children remain on empty stomach.
  • Use bleaching powder and lime to disinfect the surrounding.
  • Help the officials/volunteers distributing relief materials.
  • If you need to evacuate

  • Firstly pack warm clothing, essential medication, valuables, personal papers, etc. in waterproof bags, to be taken with your emergency kit.
  • Take the emergency kit
  • Inform the local volunteers (if available), the address of the place you are evacuating to.
  • Raise furniture, clothing and valuables onto beds, tables and to the top of the roof (electrical items highest).
  • Turn off power.
  • Whether you leave or stay, put sandbags in the toilet bowl and over all laundry / bathroom drain-holes to prevent sewage back-flow.
  • Lock your home and take recommended/known evacuation routes for your area.
  • Do not get into water of unknown depth and current.
  • Stay tuned to local radio for updated advice.
  • Do not allow children to play in, or near, flood waters.
  • Avoid entering floodwaters. If you must, wear proper protection for your feet and check depth and current with a stick. Stay away from drains, culverts and water over knee-deep.
  • Do not use electrical appliances, which have been in floodwater until checked for safety.
  • Do not eat food, which has been in floodwaters.
  • Boil tap water (in cities) until supplies have been declared safe. In case of rural areas, store tube well water in plastic jars or use halogen tablets before drinking.
  • Be careful of snakes, snakebites are common during floods.
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