OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT • REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES
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Preparing for Floods

By: Dante B. Francisco

Home Guaranty Corporation

The Philippines is one of the world’s most susceptible countries to typhoons. Located at the typhoon belt, we experience serious storms predominantly from July through October. Heavy rains easily result to flooding.
Experts say that metropolis or urban areas are more prone to flooding due to certain factors. Poor urban planning, bad drainage systems and garbage disposal problems are just some of them. Floods affect individuals and communities and have social, economic, and environmental consequences.

During typhoons, we often hear residents of the affected areas being advised to “take the necessary precautions”. Sometimes, people ignore these precautions until floods come rushing into their very own dwellings. Floodwaters damage home appliances and furniture and leave layers of mud and garbage.

How a person copes with flooding will depend on how he prepares ahead of time. The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA)new page suggests the following flood safety rules:

Before the flood

  • Find out how often your location is likely to be flooded;
  • Know the flood warning system in your community and be sure your family knows it;
  • Keep informed of daily weather condition;
  • Designate an evacuation area for the family and livestock;
  • Assign family members instructions and responsibilities according to an evacuation plan;
  • Keep a stock of food which requires little cooking and refrigeration, electric power may be interrupted;
  • Keep a transistorized radio and flashlight with spare batteries, emergency cooking equipment, candies, matches and first aid kit handy in case of emergency;
  • Store supplies and other household effects above expected flood water level; and
  • Securely anchor weak dwellings and items.

When warned of flood

  • Watch for rapidly rising flood waters;
  • Listen to your radio for emergency instructions;
  • If you find it necessary to evacuate, move to a safe area before access is cut off by flood waters;
  • Store drinking water in containers, water service may be interrupted;
  • Move household belongings to upper levels;
  • Get livestock to higher ground; and
  • Turn off electricity at the main switch in the building before evacuating and also lock your house.

During the flood

  • Avoid areas subject to sudden flooding;
  • Do not attempt to cross rivers of flowing streams where water is above the knee;
  • Beware of water-covered roads and bridges;
  • Avoid unnecessary exposure to the elements;
  • Do not go swimming or boating in swollen rivers;
  • Eat only well-cooked food and protect leftovers against contamination; and
  • Drink clean or preferably boiled water ONLY.

After the flood

  • Re-enter the dwelling with caution using flashlights, not lanterns or torches; flammables may be inside;
  • Be alert for fire hazards like broken wires;
  • Do not eat food and drink water until they have been checked for flood water contamination;
  • Report broken utility lines (electricity, water, gas and telephone) to appropriate agencies/ authorities;
  • Do not turn on the main switch or use appliances and other equipment until they have been checked by a competent electrician;
  • Consult health authorities for immunization requirements; and
  • Do not go in disaster areas. Your presence might hamper rescue and other emergency operations.

By simply following these safety tips, we will certainly mitigate the dangers we all encounter during floods. Lastly, we may overlook on a few items mentioned above but may we never forget to pray and ask for divine protection in times of calamities or disasters.

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