Wise, mindful acts needed for safety in houses standing on flood-prone areas

house flooded in kottayam
Drinking water, stove and gas cylinder should be moved upstairs from the ground floor kitchen. A flooded house in Kottayam in Kerala. Image used for representational purpose. Photo: Gibi Sam V P/Manorama

Heavy rains have been lashing many districts in Kerala, bringing back the grim memories of the devastating floods of 2018. The weather forecasts predict heavy rainfall in the state, forcing the authorities to declare red alert in many places. This is also the time when people living in flood-prone regions have to be extra alert.

Last year, many houses were inundated by the sudden flash floods during the monsoon. Those who have houses on the banks of rivers or near water bodies should be ready to act at any moment. If the ground floor of the house gets flooded, then do not try to take shelter on the upper floor. It is safe to move to a safe place or a temporary shelter arranged by the authorities.

There is a chance that people who seek shelter on the upper floor may get stuck there as everyone in the neighbourhood shifts to their relatives’ homes or to relief camps. The authorities too might forget about them thinking that everyone in the area has moved to safe places. If the electricity supply gets cut, then communication facilities including mobile phones would be dead. You will be completely trapped without electricity, food or drinking water, unable to get out as the flood water may have risen to dangerous levels. In case you wish to stay in the first floor, it is important to take some precautions before that.

If the rains continue to lash the state at this rate, then it might take a week more for the flood waters to recede. Make sure to collect enough drinking water. The stove and gas cylinder from the ground floor kitchen should be moved upstairs. Besides, rice, wheat, coconut, flattened rice, tea powder, sugar, salt and other pulses too should be stocked.

If boats are not available to save old people, pregnant women or patients, huge cauldrons could be used during emergency situations. Do not try to row the cauldron by yourself; instead, three persons should hold the cauldron on the sides and slowly push it through the water. Ropes should be tied across the streets so that pedestrians can hold onto them if flood waters gush through the roads. Besides, this would help them from slipping and falling into the drainage channels. If the water has risen above your chest level, do not try to wade through the gushing waters. Always use small boats in such situations. 

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