Flood Preparedness Guidelines
An Introduction to Floods
Flooding is a natural disaster, which is given attention because it threatens the lives and the economy of the people of this country. According to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), flooding remains the third biggest natural disaster which has claimed many lives and damaged properties. The flood problems in this country caused by the monsoon and flash floods will continue even though various structural and non-structural plans have been implemented by the government to reduce their effects. With the increase in population and development focusing on the basins and river valleys which are prone to rising waters, flood occurrences are unavoidable. The frequency of flooding has increased due to changes in land use, resulting in the failure of drainage systems in the low-lying areas to divert the heavy rain flows and also leading to sediments problems in drainage systems due to development.
In the past decade, the nation has experienced a number of major floods. Although the area affected by flooding was about 29,000 square km or 9% of the total area of this nation, at least 2.7 million people, or 18 % of the total population was affected by floods.
According to a JICA study in 1981, the total damage from floods was estimated to be about RM100 million. The government has taken proactive steps in dealing with flood problems such as setting up supervisory bodies, implementing flood mitigation programmes, implementing non-structural steps with the setting up of flood forecasting and warning systems for the flood prone main river basins and the integrated management of river basins to minimize loss of life and property due to floods.
As a general public, we have a role to prepare in facing the dangers of flood by taking early actions. The following is an excerpt from the Guidelines on Disasters Preparedness published by the Civil Defense Department, with easily understood animated instructions.
Before the Floods
- Get information about floods in your area.
- Find out the kind of flood warning system, how it is delivered and local flood preparation information.
- Check all water outlets such as drains and sewage outlets.
- Clear any obstructions and ensure that it is tightly closed so that flood water could not spills through.
- Determine the evacuation and disaster aids centers in your area, execute emergency evacuation plans and exercises. Prepare Emergency Equipments.
- Make sure that all your family members know about What to do During Emergencies at home.
Before Floods – When Imminent Signs are Visible
- Listen to announcements on the radio.
- Fill up barrels, containers, sinks or bath-tubs with clean water, as water may become contaminated during floods.
- Move in furniture or appliances from outside your house.
- Keep important documents in a safe place or take along in a waterproof container.
- Be ready to switch off electric switches, close water main and gas supply valve. Inform your neighbours and be ready to evacuate.
During Floods – In The House
- Listen to announcements on the radio.
- Be prepared with emergency equipment.
- When ordered to move out and evacuate, do so immediately.
During Floods – Outside the House
- Go to a higher and safer ground.
- Avoid going through flooded areas as strong currents can sweep you away.
- Do not wander around deliberately in flooded areas either by foot or in a sampan. Do not touch any fallen cables or wires.
- Watch the children. Do not allow them to play in drains, rivers or mines. Do not drink floodwaters.
During Floods – In Vehicles
- Do not attempt to cross flooded areas, turn back.
- If your car stopped, lock the car and leave it. Go to the higher ground.
During Floods – During Evacuation
- Upon receiving orders, evacuate immediately.
- Evacuate early before the floodwaters worsen, or during the day as it is more practical and safe.
- Follow the designated routes, as the shorter routes may be impassable.
After the Floods
- Listen to radio announcements or wait for orders from the authorities. Do not return home before being allowed to do so or until it is really safe to do so.
- Assist your neighbours or the weaker ones (senior citizens, children or the disabled). Inspect your house for any cracks or settlement which might be unsafe.
- Do not immediately enter a flooded house, and beware of many hidden dangers.
After Floods – While Entering Buildings
- Wear shoes.
- Check for any damage to the walls, floors, doors and windows.
- Check for any signs of poisonous and hazardous animals or insects.
- Use a piece of wood to move any obstructions strewn on the floor of your house.
- Watch the ceiling and wall plaster which may have cracked, loose and fallen.
After Floods – Check for Dangers
- Check for any broken or leaking gas pipes.
- Check for any electrical wires submerged in water.
- Check for any submerged electrical items.
- Check for inflammable materials that may have flowed in during floods (kerosene, petrol, diesel and such).
- Discards food item which has been submerged or come into contact with floodwaters, including canned food.
- Check for damage to septic tanks to avoid biological hazards.
- Report any damage to public amenities to the authorities.
How to prepare and react when disaster hit? Animation Portal provided by JPAM
(Provided in English, Malay, Chinese and Tamil languages)
Emergency Contact Number during Flooding