What To Do During The Aftermath Of The Floods
Cleaning up after a flood can be an overwhelming task! Let’s face it, it’s downright difficult! U need to be prepared to deal with all the damage. Also, if you are not cautious, you may face health concerns while cleaning up. The parts of your home that have been damaged will need repairs and a thorough clean-up. Pay special attention to the basement, floors, furniture, walls, ceilings and appliances.
Although you may want to start cleaning immediately, remember, you first need to be safe and save yourself from possible risks and dangers. Beware, as the water may be contaminated due to sewage or other waste and toxic products. Also, keep in mind that your home may not be habitable before it is properly cleaned out. Contaminated water causes skin infections too. So be extremely cautious when you come in contact with dirty water after the floods. Here are a few useful tips and guidelines to avoid the spread of infectious diseases and to help make UR home livable and flood-free!
What diseases can spread due to water logging?
As the floods recede there will be issues of sanitation and contamination of water due to sewage contaminating the water sources inviting infectious diseases! This can lead to outbreaks of diseases like;
Waterlogging is responsible for waterborne diseases and also leads to the breeding of mosquitoes, which can intensify the speed of spreading infectious diseases.
We must also be mindful that we are still in the middle of suppressing a pandemic! So be mindful of UR health and the well-being of UR loved ones.
Here’s What U Can Do To Avoid Diseases During The Flood
Make sure you are wearing protective gear: Wear waterproof rubber gloves, rubber boots, a mask and goggles to protect UR eyes, hands and feet from being continuously wet.
Chlorinate the water in UR home: Pump out stagnant water in UR home in small sessions. By removing water you lower the amount of mosquitoes in UR home and reduce the spread of any infectious diseases like; malaria, skin infections, skin peeling and contamination.
Remove stagnant water first: Clean up by using buckets or pumps and then use a vacuum cleaner to dry up. If the water is not too much, you can use cloth to absorb all the water.
Don’t consume any contaminated medication or food: To avoid the spread of infection, avoid eating contaminated medicine, food or wearing contaminated clothing. Visit UR nearest pharmacy or hospital for assistance.
Check for cracks and broken parts: Thoroughly examine the floor, walls and windows of UR home for any weak or eroding spots.
Get an electrician to check all the electrical wiring in UR home to avoid any electrocution or short circuits.
The Clean-up Steps
Remove materials that are soaked in water: Put them in garbage bags and get rid of them as they may contain sewage water. You may have to throw out your carpet, certain furniture pieces and clothing.
Clean out mud or silt with a shovel: Use a hose pipe before things dry up.
Cleaning the walls of UR home thoroughly after floods is essential: The walls and floor of UR house should be completely dry. You may need to discard wooden wall paneling if it’s damaged.
In case water and mud gets inside wall cavities, be prepared to remove the interior finishes of the walls with professional help if you don’t know how to do it URself.
Use hose pipes to clean the floors and walls before they dry up: Ensure these are rinsed multiple times to get rid of any contaminants. You can use chlorine bleach to clean and disinfect them.
While cleaning the floors, use detergents which are ammonia-free: Use a disinfectant and lots of hot water. Ensure the mud and filth is taken out from any cracks or gaps.If the floors have mildew, use washing soda to scrub them.
Disinfect all the surfaces with chlorine bleach to prevent infections: Stagnant water is the breeding grounds for mosquitoes, hence, it is necessary to follow the right protocols to avoid diseases like malaria, dengue and skin infections.
Wait for UR home to dry completely: The amount of air circulation and moisture present in the air will determine the drying time. The time it will take for a house to dry also depends on the construction and materials used in the house during construction. So be prepared to wait for either weeks or months.
In case you need to claim insurance, you will need to adhere to the following steps before you begin cleaning:
Take videos and photos as proof of the damage
Keep the receipts of all expenses
Ask your insurance company if there are any other requirements
If papers are wet in the floods – you can freeze them in plastic bags to check later. But ensure waxed papers are placed between the layers of papers to keep it protected.
What to do if anyone gets electrocuted, has drowned or in trauma?
If someone is electrocuted, do not step into the water where it was electrocuting or run into it for help. Even as hard as it may sound, it is best to call for medical help immediately. Make sure UR not barefoot, where closed shoes to avoid getting electrocuted URself.
Drowning – mouth to mouth breaths can be avoided as due to covid pandemic , it should be if unresponsive.
Check scene safety first – check for response – check for pulse and breathing simultaneously – call for help (activated emergency response system ) and get an AED – no pulse start CPR or in case pulse present no breathing give rescue breaths or in case pulse present , breathing put him in the left lateral position till help arrives.
Trauma – Call for help immediately, clear the tree, maintain spine while moving the person.
If someone is drowning, only go after them if UR are a confident swimmer and avoid becoming a casualty yourself.
Trauma during the floods will be a common site for many parts of our nation. Trees falling can be very dangerous and painful, to avoid further injury contact help immediately and do as much as you can without hurting the person in trauma even further. There is also help provided by the respected GHMC tree cutting workers who are helping clear roads and saving lives.
We can help by volunteering in medical camps, or heavily impacted areas in UR state. Contacting helplines and speaking to medical professionals can also help you gain perspective on what you can do and avoid during these testing times. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it whether it is mental or physical help.
Precautions to take during floods
Use safe drinking water and avoid coming in contact with contaminated water by the sewage, garbage or any dead animals.
Ensure you wash UR hands thoroughly with disinfectant soap before eating,drinking or touching UR face.
Don’t drink water from wells before it is treated and safe to consume. You can treat water by boiling it, filtering it to remove particles or by bleaching it. You can also use iodine and chlorine tablets. But ensure you read the instructions before doing the same.
Don’t eat any food that has come in contact with flood water, even if it’s in waterproof containers. As foods cannot be disinfected, it’s safe to throw them out.
Don’t drink or eat anything from damaged food cans that are even slightly damaged.
Treat open wounds and cuts immediately and limit their exposure to ward off infections. Get a tetanus vaccination if you haven’t got one during the span of six months. The wound can turn fatal if left untreated.
Visit a doctor and get your wounds checked (if any) as you may require a tetanus vaccination if your wound is contaminated with the flood water.
Reach the nearest doctor in case of fever or any other symptoms of distress.
Seek immediate treatment for sudden illness and stomach diseases like diarrhea.
Use antibacterial soap to bathe and wash your hands after touching things that are contaminated by the floodwaters. Also ensure you wash your hands before you touch your face or any of your family members.
Get rid of mosquito breeding sites after the floods to avoid diseases caused by mosquitoes. Dispose of standing water, use mosquito repellents and don’t opt to sleep outside, to stay safe.
The other diseases you need to be aware of are conjunctivitis, dermatitis, throat, nose and ear infections which can be triggered due to contact with polluted water.
Leptospirosis, which is a blood infection, can be transmitted from contaminated water. This can occur when the skin comes in contact with the water or mud that is polluted with rodent urine.
Environmental sanitation and disease control practices can immensely reduce the risk of infections and diseases in the places you live and work. So follow the above precautions to stay safe and healthy!
UR contribution to help during the floods
Volunteer to help out in flood affected areas: Helping others during the floods only if it is safe to do so or if there are any organizations who are already working on site cleaning up with the aftermath of a flood.
Donate goods: Many have been displaced during the floods, donating unused or pre-loved clothes, power banks and old, but functional cellphones can help people in need.
Avoid donating canned items: Donate fresh fruits, vegetables, dals, grains and legumes if possible as it is much more nutritious and safe to eat.
Make a monetary donation to a trusted NGO in UR town: Sending money is one of the easiest and effective ways to help others if it won’t burn a hole in UR pocket. Make sure you are able to fend for URself before helping others as well.
Use UR skillset to help others: For example, if U R a healthcare professional help others with free medical services, construction-related professionals can help repair and build homes in badly affected flood areas.
Government flood helplines
You can always choose a trusted NGO of UR liking to help out the best way suitable to you. Avoid getting scammed by fake NGO’s which are infamous for taking advantage of these sensitive situations. Do UR research thoroughly, send them an email, inquire with others and contact them for more details.
NATIONAL DISASTER MANAGEMENTCONTROL CENTRE
Centralized Helpline ( INDIA ) – NDMA
011-1078 or 011-26701700
There are many ways you can contribute to the community by doing the needful. For now ensure you and UR family are safe in UR home. Do UR bit by educating others on what precautions they can take during the floods and help save lives!