By Nurul Asna Azmi
Natural disaster is something that happened unpredicted. It even can happen in a minute. In Malaysia, entering the last month of the year means the start of the Monsoon season. Every year, Malaysia would face a Northeast monsoon season that makes the East coast states Pahang, Terengganu and Kelantan receiving heavy amount of rainfall that causes a flood.
This monsoon season or also known as the flood season usually would last from December until March. Because it happened annually, most of citizens are prepared to face the disaster. There are four periods that should be observed during the flood season. These are important things that need to be considered when you are encountered with the situation.
Before the flood
First and foremost, you should get the information about the place that are affected by flood. Check whether your place are included or not from the local authority. If a flood is likely in your area, always listen and watch the media’s announcement about the flood. Next, it is important for you to locate the nearest Evacuation Centre at your area. Once the flood strikes, you know where to go and gather with other people. Other than that, it is advisable for you to prepare in advance, the important necessities like foods and medicine.
To avoid a great amount of loss, it is recommended for you to keep your belongings very well. If possible, move your furniture and other equipment to a high and safe place. Put also your important documents like the ID card, bank card, birth certificates, land titles, insurance policies, and other valuable documents in the safe deposit box and waterproof files. Check your insurance policy whether it will cover losses due to floods.
When a flood imminent
Be prepared and stay focus! Pack a bag with important things and be ready to evacuate. You are advisable to evacuate if were told so. If there is a possibility of a flash flood, move to the higher ground immediately. Don’t forget to switch off all the electric appliances, the main valve of the water supply and the gas. Lastly, tell your neighbours to get ready for evacuation.
During a flood
When you are given an instruction to evacuate, please do so. If possible, go to the Evacuation Centre earlier before the water level increases and do it in the day light, as it is much easier and safer than at night. If you are going there without being accompanied by the security officer, please follow the route that have been determined by the local authority. It is important as the other ways might be dangerous and were blocked by the authority.
During a flood, avoid yourself from playing near the strong currents that can sweep you away. Parents need to pay extra cautions to their children when they are playing in the water and warn them to not drink the flood water. Do not walk through moving water. As little as 6 inches (15 centimetres) of moving water can make you fall! If you have to walk in water, wherever possible, walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground.
After a flood
Listen to the announcement made by the authority regarding the status of flood. Do not return to your house before they allow. Get the information from the officers whether the water supply is safe to drink. Be aware of areas where floodwaters have receded. Roads may have weakened and could collapse under the weight of a car. After returning home, clean and disinfect everything that got wet. Mud left from floodwater can contain sewage and chemicals. ***