Recently, there has been heavy rain and flooding in East Africa. Among the countries most affected are Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia. These countries are often subject to flooding during the rainy seasons, which are from November-January and from March-May.
The aim of this article is to help you to prevent damage to your home and protect yourself and your loved ones if there is a flood.
What to do if you receive a flood warning
If you receive a flood warning, it is important to act quickly. Follow any instructions that you receive about where to find shelter. Only take possessions with you if they are going to help you to survive or if they are light and easy to transport, such as a spare item of clothing.
How to protect your home
If there is already flooding in your area, it is important to try to keep this water out of your house.
If you are able to access sandbags, place them in front of your door to create a barrier. This stops the water from coming underneath the door and damaging your home. There are a few options for how to make your own using things you might have around the house:
- For the outside of the bag, you can use pillow cases, or even two plastic bags (one inside the other).
- For filling, you can use gravel or dirt from outside, small rocks, or old clothing.
- Fill them up to the top and tie them tightly, to make them watertight.
How to protect yourself and your family
Flood water often moves very quickly, which can be dangerous. If there is 15cm of fast-flowing water or more, this is enough to push you over. For this reason, do not try to walk or drive anywhere if the water is high or fast-moving.
Flood water can carry infectious diseases. One of the most dangerous is cholera. When water is unclean, or stands still for a long time, bacteria such as cholera can spread easily, making it easy to become sick from contact with flood water. If you do come into contact with flood water, it is important to wash your hands carefully.
Do not touch sources of electricity if there is flooding in your house, such as switching on the television or an electric light bulb. This can be extremely dangerous, as the water could cause you to get a severe electric shock. If you have appliances with plug sockets, put these somewhere high up, or in a sink or bath. This can stop the water from reaching them.
It is not possible to completely stop flooding because it is caused by heavy rain, which you cannot control. The safest thing to do is always to evacuate in time, if you have enough warning. However, following the tips listed in this article can help you to minimise the damage and risk of injury to yourself and loved ones during a flood.