What are Floods?
Floods are a lot of water. Floods occur when a piece of land that is usually dry suddenly gets covered with water. Water naturally flows from higher ground to low ground. The low ground will fill up before the high ground. That is why you see on TV people on their roofs waiting to be rescued by a helicopter.
Flooding is extremely dangerous and can destroy an entire city, coastline or area, and cause extensive damage. Floods can carry houses, cars, furniture and even cows away from the land they were standing on. People and animals have died from floods because there is no warning and no preparation has been made. People are made homeless because their house was destroyed in flood.
Floods can be different sizes and last for the different amount of times. They are very powerful and destructive even if they are only knee high.
Floods can be caused by heavy rains, dam breaks or snowmelt in a short period of time. It can be caused by rivers overflowing. They can be caused by powerful winds and hurricanes including a tsunami on dry coastal land.
What happens during a flood?
During floods, the roads, bridges, farms, houses, and automobiles are destroyed. People become homeless. Additionally, the government deploys firemen, police and other emergency apparatuses to help the affected. All these come at a substantial cost to individuals and the government. It usually takes years for the communities concerned to be rebuilt and business to get back to normal.
Flooding can kill animals and insects, and new types of insects are introduced to affected areas, distorting the natural balance of the ecosystem.
Many people and animals die in floods, especially in flash floods. A flash flood is a rapid flooding of an area. It can be caused by torrential rains associated with severe thunderstorms, hurricanes or ice or snow flowing over ice sheets or snowfields.
Other people become injured, and homeless. There is a shortage of drinkable water and electricity can be out for days. In addition to these problems, flooding brings a lot of diseases and infections including military fever, pneumonic plague, dermatopathy, and dysentery.
The good thing about flooding is when it occurs in a farm field and carries nutrients for the soil. Farmers love the nutrient-rich soil, as it is perfect for cultivating some kinds of crops.
What can you do?
Like any natural disaster, sometimes there is no warning of floods. You must be prepared before the flood happens.
According to What You Can Do Before During And After Floods. – Eschooltoday. Here are a few things you can do to get prepared for a flood.
Before the floods
- Know about your local relief centers and evacuation routes.
- Keep emergency numbers and important information handy, as well as emergency supplies, kits, first aid items. These may include water, canned food, can opener, battery-operated radio, flashlight and protective clothing.
- Fold and roll up anything onto higher ground (or upper floors of your home), including chemicals and medicines.
- Make sure everything that is of importance is secured (jewelry, documents, pets, and other valuables).
- Plant trees and shrubs and keep a lot of vegetation in your compound if you are in a low-lying area as that can control erosion and help soften the speed of the flowing water.
During the floods
- Flash floods occur in a short space of time. As soon as they start, be quick, keep safe and ensure that children and the elderly are safe by leaving the house to higher ground.
- Turn off all electrical appliances, gas, heating and the like if there is a bit of time.
- Leave the area before it gets too late. Do not drive through the water as moving water can sweep you away.
- Stay away from power lines or broken power transmission cables.
- Try to keep away from floodwater as it may contain chemicals or other hazardous materials.
After the floods
- Make sure you have permission from emergency officers to get back inside your house.
- Keep all power and electrical appliance off until the house is cleaned up properly and an electrical personnel has confirmed that it is OK to put them on.
- Make sure you have photographs, or a record of all the damage, as it may be needed for insurance claims.
- Clean the entire home, together with all the objects in it very well before you use them again. They may be contaminated.
- Wear appropriate gear (mask and gloves) before cleaning begins.
How to prevent floods
You cannot stop a flood. It is a natural disaster. There are a few ways to prevent flooding:
- Seawalls and tide gates
- Sandbags placed strategically to alter the route of the flood waters
- Retaining walls, levees, dams, or retention ponds
- Get a flood plane inspection before building a structure. If waterways are blocked, then floods will occur. There needs to be proper drainage.
- Plant a lot of trees, shrubs, and grass to help prevent erosion of fast-moving water.
- Don’t block the waterways or culverts with trash or litter. It can clog the waterways and alter the course.
- Education yourself about the flooding including the danger, cause and what you can do to minimize the impact. Get familiar with your evacuation plan and have a 72-hour kit ready in case of an emergency.
Did you know?
According to Important Tips And Facts On Floods For Young People (http://eschooltoday.com/natural-disasters/floods/facts-and-tips-on-flooding.html)
- In Australia, floods are the most expensive type of natural disaster with direct costs estimated over the period 1967-2005 averaging $377 million per year (calculated in 2008 Australian dollars). http://www.chiefscientist.qld.gov.au/search?q=flooding
- Flood losses in the United States averaged $2.4 billion per year for the last decade. Floods are the number one natural disaster in the United States. http://www.floodsmart.gov/
- Never swim or play around in flood water. It may contain chemicals, bacteria, and disease-causing organisms. If your skin comes in contact with floodwater, make sure to wash it with soap and disinfected water because the contents are unknown.
- Based on Floodsmart, a 2,000 square foot home undergoing 12inches of water damage could cost more than $50,000.
- Never drive into a flooded roadway or drive through flowing water because just 2 feet of water can float a large vehicle and sway it away.
- A levee is a manmade structure to contain or prevent water from moving past a certain point.
Local emergency officers are sometimes able to predict a possibility of flood during a rain or high tide at the shore. A flood warning will be issued so take heed if you receive it no matter how you receive it. To see more articles and tips concerning weather go to www.weatheregg.com
Resource: http://eschooltoday.com/natural-disasters/floods/before-during-after-floods.html, http://www.chiefscientist.qld.gov.au/publications/understanding-floods/consequences.aspx, http://www.floodsmart.gov/toolkits/spanish/downloads/english/facts-and-figures.pdf
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