PREPAREDNESS AND SAFETY TIPS
The ASEAN region faces flooding on a regular basis, that takes its toll on the lives, livelihoods and economies of the region’s communities. Of the 1,586 disasters monitored by the AHA Centre in 2018 across ASEAN, 56.5% were floods, a large majority of which were experienced by Indonesia, as well as frequently affecting communities in Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand, and Viet Nam. Such constant occurrences also provide us with a better opportunity to understand and prepare for flooding emergencies, in order to lighten the impact should your home be inundated by floodwaters. The following tips and processes can be applied and implemented throughout the ASEAN region, to help ensure the safety of you, your family and your property should water levels rise.
BEFORE A FLOOD
Whether before the wet season, or with an impending storm heading your way, there are a number of simple steps you can take to prepare for floods. We recommend that all ASEAN citizens – particularly those living in flood-prone regions – undertake the following actions on a yearly basis.
1. KNOW FLOOD POINTS AND SAFETY POINTS
Both within your home and the surrounding community, learn your high spots and how to get there quickly. Your safety of course depends on the height of the floodwaters on any given occasion, but the higher you can be the more likely you will remain safe.
2. LEARN YOUR LOCAL WARNING SYSTEMS
Almost all local governments will have warning systems, especially those in areas known to flood, so learn what they are, what to do, and do as you are told should the systems turn on.
3. MONITOR CONDITIONS
Whether through the AHA Centre, your National Disaster Management Organisation, or your local news and weather broadcaster, always remain up-to-date with the latest weather conditions and flood warnings.
4. PREPARE A GRAB-BAG
Important for any disaster preparedness situation, a Grab-Bag should be prepared should you have to leave in haste due to rising waters. Amongst other things, it should contain water, nutritional food/snacks, spare warm clothes, a torch, a communication device, and important medication.
DURING A FLOOD
Whether a flood begins slowly or arrives as an unexpected flash-flood, there are numerous things you can do to avoid being caught in the middle of fast-moving waters.
1. LISTEN TO EMERGENCY BROADCASTS
Whether through your local television or radio station, or any other means identified by your local authorities, listen for updates on a situation, and follow orders to evacuate should the need arise.
2. TURN OFF ELECTRICITY AND GAS
These flammable and dangerous elements can cause destruction or death when floodwaters hit, so turning them off at the source is necessary to minimise the chance of an explosion, fire or electrocution.
If conditions continue to worsen it is time to leave, whether ordered by authorities or not. If you are prepared you know where to go for higher ground, take your Grab Bag and head there until waters recede.
4. DON’T DRIVE OR WALK THROUGH FLOODWATERS
Floodwaters are often extremely powerful with invisible undercurrents, making it easy for people and vehicles to be washed away. Avoid crossing them at all costs, and if you are cut off then find the highest point and call for help.
AFTER A FLOOD
Never return to your home until a flood situation has completely subsided, and follow the directions of local authorities. When arriving home, go slowly and look around your property first without going straight inside your home. Check for damage to the structure of your house, and also to cables or pipes for electricity and gas. Once all is safe check again from the inside, and carefully begin to clean your home. Clean and dry everything properly, as such conditions are breeding grounds for waterborne disease.
Written by : Shintya Kurniawan, William Shea