Flood Preparedness Cheat Sheet for Informal Settlements

1. Understand & Assess the Risks

  • Identify Flood Zones: Know if your dwelling is located in a flood-prone area.
  • Stay Informed: Regularly monitor local news and weather forecasts for flood alerts.

2. Strengthen and Secure Homes

  • Elevate Your Dwelling: Even raising your home a few feet can make a significant difference. Use bricks, stones, or other sturdy materials.
  • Strengthen Roofing: Ensure your roofing is securely fastened to prevent it from getting blown or washed away.
  • Sandbags and Trenches: If possible, place sandbags around your home. Dig trenches to divert water away from your home.

3. Safeguard Essential Supplies

  • Create a Flood Kit: Stock up on essentials like drinking water, non-perishable food, medicines, flashlights, batteries, and first-aid supplies.
  • Waterproof Important Documents: Keep them in sealed plastic bags or containers. This includes identity documents, bank details, and other essential papers.
  • Elevate Valuables: Keep electronics, appliances, and other valuable items elevated or on higher shelves.

4. Plan Evacuation Routes

  • Know the Way: Familiarize yourself with at least two evacuation routes out of the settlement.
  • Safe Zones: Know where the nearest safe or high-ground areas are. It’s especially crucial in settlements without formal evacuation points.

5. Foster Community Cooperation

  • Build Community Awareness: Organize community meetings to discuss flood preparedness.
  • Designate Leaders: Identify individuals who can lead and help coordinate during a crisis.
  • Establish a Warning System: Set up a system (like a siren or a bell) to alert residents of imminent flooding.

6. Ensure Health & Safety

  • Avoid Contact with Floodwater: The water can contain harmful bacteria or other contaminants.
  • Stockpile Clean Water: Ensure you have a supply of clean drinking water. If uncertain about water quality, boil it before consumption.
  • Be Cautious of Electricity: Stay away from electrical poles and avoid using electrical appliances in wet conditions.

7. Post-Flood Measures

  • Do Not Return Immediately: Wait until authorities or community leaders say it’s safe to return.
  • Clean and Disinfect: Floodwaters can contaminate homes. Once waters recede, clean and disinfect your home.
  • Check for Structural Damage: Ensure it’s stable and safe before re-entering your dwelling.
  • Informal settlements often lack the infrastructure and resources to handle disasters effectively, making community-based strategies vital. By working together, communities can safeguard themselves and reduce the impact of floods.

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