Kerala floods: Before you return home, think

Muralee Thummarukudy lists out the precautions that one must undertake before stepping into houses severely affected by flood waters

Published: 20th August 2018 03:31 AM  |   Last Updated: 20th August 2018 07:02 AM   |  A+A-

A house in Aluva that was submerged in the heavy flooding Albin Mathew

Express News Service

KOCHI: “When you get back home, you are to mark the level of flood water on your walls with chalk or paint. This is highly crucial. Post the Great flood of ‘99, people failed to document and record the intensity and level of flood waters. By documenting the level this time, inhabitation near waterfronts and riverbanks can be avoided in the future,” says Muralee Thummarukudy, chief of Disaster Risk Reduction in the United Nations Environment Programme(UNEP).

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Previously, Muralee was quoted as saying that he had cautioned the reservoirs would be filled by July. Unfortunately, engineers did not foresee this. Now, as the flood water subsides and rains weaken, people who have inhabited relief camps would be in a hurry to get back to their homes, in constant dread about their valuable assets. Amid the haste to enter homes, Muralee feels that one has to foresee and be extremely careful while dealing with affected and damaged houses.

He states that one must not go accompanied. Help would be just a hand away if there are people along. “The sight of a decrepit and muddied house replete with destroyed belongings can induce trauma and heart attacks,” he says. Victims are also asked to not back to their houses at night as dangers ranging from gas leaks to snakes are highly viable. Artificial sources of light such as candles and the usage of cigarettes are advised against.

The receding waters would leave behind knee-length levels of mud and slush along with accumulated within the premises of the house thereby making it difficult to open gates. In such circumstances, force is required to open gates.

While applying force, one must take ensure that supporting walls are strong enough lest they collapse.
One must be careful while treading within the house to avoid slipping and falling. The face must be protected by masks or towels, and gloves are to be worn during house inspection. Muralee cautions inhabitants about electrical accidents and asks them to turn off the electrical mains and gas supply before entering homes.

Refrigerated meat is to be disposed and one must be wary while opening the fridge as build-up gases such as methane could cause explosions. Proper functioning of flush and water pipes are to be ensued along with water purity.  The chief of Disaster Risk Reduction stresses that people take pictures of their rooms and damaged goods as it would be useful for a damaged and loss estimate. Most importantly, before cleaning, consider where one would dispose the damaged and muddied goods.


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  • Hanu

    Where will people dispose wastes etc is a bigger question.this is a severe issue in Kerala as a whole.there are no bins to dispose waste in entire state.Corporations and Muncipalities have closed their eyes on this issue.atleast now people unite and find a solution.
    3 years ago reply
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