A flood emergency is when there’s a temporary overflow of water onto land that’s normally dry. Floods are the most common natural disaster in cities that either have obsolete drainage systems during heavy rain, or reside along a coastal terrain. Failing to evacuate flooded areas or entering flood waters can lead to injury or death. So, what to do in case of a flood emergency?
Here’s what you should know about a flood’s origination:
- Floods typically result from rain, snow, sea/ocean storms, and overflows of dams and other water systems.
- A flood can develop slowly or quickly – flash floods come without WARNING!
- Floods cause outages, disrupt transport, damage/destroy buildings, and create landslides.
Situation Report | Record Shattering Rainfall In Karachi | Pakistan
More rain is forecast in areas of Pakistan – particularly up north and lower Sindh – after several flash floods cause havoc. Every year, Monsoon triggers floods in the country, killing scores of people and displacing many from their homes.
Up north, Chitral – KPK – was among the worst affected, with severe damage to local buildings and businesses.
AUGUST 2020: KPK’s information minister Mushtaq Ghani has stated that upper parts of Chitral have been cut off. He further stated that almost 200,000 people have been left stranded from their homes.
Down south, the situation is critical in Karachi and in some other parts of Sindh.
Typically, normal rainfall in Karachi in the month of August is 68 millimeters (6.8 centimeters). This year, Pakistan’s Meteorological Department has recorded 587.5 millimeters (58.75 centimeters) so far. Long story short: This isn’t good news.
During August 21st-28th, Karachi received more than 22 centimeters of rain on daily average, the highest on record.
Residents complained of sewage on the streets and in water tanks. Power was out in several areas for days amid sweltering heat and humidity. The outage also caused disruptions in cell phone services, interrupting emergency management and leaving citizens out of touch with their loved ones.
Much of the city’s planning woes have been exacerbated over the decades due to corruption coupled with political rivalries among local, provincial and federal governments. Only time will tell when this situation hits normal.
The following points represent an active emergency mandate when floods are involved. Get in!
If There’s A Flood Warning, Find Shelter | Prayers For Karachi During Monsoon
Do not walk, swim or drive through flood waters. Turn Around, Don’t Drown!
- Just six inches of moving water can knock you down, and one foot of moving water can sweep your vehicle away.
Stay off of bridges over fast-moving water.
Depending on the type of flooding:
- Evacuate if told to do so.
- Move to higher ground or a higher floor.
- Stay where you are.
How To Stay Safe If A Flood Threatens?
- Make a plan for your household, including your pets, so that you and your family know what to do, where to go, and what you will need to protect yourselves from flooding and COVID-19.
- Build a “Go Kit” of the supplies you will need if you have to quickly evacuate your home.
- Know types of flood risk in your area.
- Sign up for your community’s warning system. Fortunately, though, Pakistan’s Radio also provides emergency alerts. Sign up for email updates and follow the latest guidelines about coronavirus whilst trying to escape a flood.
Be Safe | What To Do In Case Of A Flood Emergency
- If flash flooding is a risk in your location, monitor potential signs, such as heavy rain.
- Learn and practice evacuation routes, shelter plans, and flash flood response. YouTube is the way!
- If you live in a storm-surge flooding zone – probably not all over Pakistan – make plans to stay with family. Evacuate to shelters only if you are unable to stay with family and friends.
- Check with local authorities to determine which public shelters are open. This will be a dismal affair in Pakistan, since most of the crunch work is left for the public to do. Review an evacuation plan and consider alternative options to maintain social and physical distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
- Don’t forget to include your pet in your emergency plan. Dear fancy folk, this one’s for you!
- Gather supplies, including non-perishable foods, cleaning supplies, and water for several days, in case you must leave immediately or if services are cut off in your area.
Supply Run | What To Do In Case Of A Flood Emergency
You should have at least 3 days’ worth of supplies on hand, including:
- One gallon of water per day for each individual.
- If you are able, set aside items like soap, hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol, disinfecting wipes, and general household cleaning supplies that you can use to disinfect surfaces you touch regularly.
After a flood, you may not have access to these supplies for days or even weeks.
- Keep in mind each person’s specific needs, including medication.
- Include extra batteries and charging devices for phones and other critical equipment.
- Being prepared allows you to avoid unnecessary excursions and to address minor medical issues at home, alleviating the burden on urgent care centers and hospitals.
- Not everyone can afford to respond by stocking up on necessities. If you can, make essential purchases and slowly build up supplies in advance so that you can leave longer time periods between shopping trips.
This helps to protect those who are unable to procure essentials in advance of a disaster, like a flood or pandemic, and must shop more frequently.
- Get insurance, if you find yourself in the hour of need. Here’s ProPakistani’s take on available insurance plans in Pakistan.
- Keep important documents in a waterproof container. Create password-protected digital copies.
- Protect your property. Move valuables to higher levels. De-clutter drains and gutters. Install check valves (if possible); consider a sump-pump with a battery.
Survival During Natural Disaster | What To Do In Case Of A Flood Emergency
Depending on where you are and the warning time given for flooding, go to the safe location that you identified. If you are not able to shelter in place or with family or friends and must go to a public area, remember to bring items that can help protect you and others from COVID-19, such as:
- Hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol,
- cleaning materials,
- and two cloth face coverings per person.
If you can, wash your face covering regularly. Children and people who have trouble breathing should not wear them after single use; WHO recommends using another mask!
- Stay off bridges over fast-moving water. Fast-moving water can wash bridges away without warning.
- If your car is trapped in rapidly moving water stay inside. When water is rising inside the car, get on the roof.
- If trapped in a building go to its highest level. Do not climb into a closed attic. You may become trapped by rising floodwater. Only get on the roof if necessary and once there, signal for help.
After | Action-Based Research | Follow-Up To Incoming Instructions
Continue taking steps to protect yourself from COVID-19 and other infectious diseases. Wash your hands often, and clean commonly touched surfaces with disinfecting products.
- Be aware of the risk of electrocution. Do not touch electrical equipment if it is wet or if you are standing in water. If it is safe to do so, turn off the electricity to prevent electric shock. We hope K-Electric is doing something about this!
Be available for family, friends, and neighbours who may need someone to talk to about their feelings. Many people may already feel fear and anxiety about the coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19). The threat of a flood can add additional stress.
You may need to talk to someone about your feelings, too. Don’t be afraid to reach out to friends, family, or professionals if you need help coping with your stress, anxiety, or sadness.
Are we in the clear yet?
Well, there you have it guys! This was all about what to do in case of a flood emergency and how to act. If you have any questions, please leave a comment in the section provided below.
May God S.W.T save Karachi and its residents from the current situation!