Floods usually occur in low lying areas when there are abnormal rainfall hours and intensity filling river basins with too much water, within a short time. Water runs off steeper ground very rapidly, causing natural drainage systems to overflow with rushing flood waters and a deadly cargo of rocks, mud, smashed trees and other debris.
Mudslides are also a danger created by flood conditions. Some floods develop over a period of days, but flash floods can result in raging waters in just a few minutes. Flooding along rivers is a natural and inevitable part of life.
This makes it a natural event. At times man also causes flood by blocking the drainages and when water can not find it path, it overflows the land and thereby it is called flood. At times floods are caused by collapse of dams. In Nigeria, Floods are the most common and widespread of all natural hazards. Even the northern parts of the country that have less rainfall are also prone to annual flood. At times even very small streams, gullies, creeks, culverts, dry streambeds, or low-lying ground that may appear harmless in dry weather can flood. Wherever you live, be aware of potential flooding hazards. Flood alone is a hazard but when it affects man and his property or activities we call it disaster. Flood is a disaster because it results in: Loss of lives, Loss of agricultural products, Loss of soil fertility for agriculture, Demolition of buildings and rendering many homeless, Destroying livestock and other valuable assets. Cholera and other health related problems.
Before a Flood
To prepare for a flood, you should:
- Avoid building in a floodplain unless you elevate and reinforce your home.
- Elevate the furnace, water heater, and electric panel if susceptible to flooding.
- Install “check valves” in sewer traps to prevent flood water from backing up into the drains of your home.
- Construct barriers (levees, beams, floodwalls) to stop floodwater from entering the building.
- Seal walls in basements with waterproofing compounds to avoid seepage.
During a Flood
If a flood is likely in your area, you should:
- Listen to the radio or television for information.
- Be aware that flash flooding can occur. If there is any possibility of a flash flood, move immediately to higher ground. Do not wait for instructions to move.
- Be aware of streams, drainage channels, canyons, and other areas known to flood suddenly. Flash floods can occur in these areas with or without such typical warnings as rain clouds or heavy rain.
- If you must prepare to evacuate, you should do the following:
- Secure your home.
- If you have time, bring in outdoor furniture. Move essential items to an upper floor.
- Turn off utilities at the main switches or valves if instructed to do so.
- Disconnect electrical appliances. Do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water.
- If you have to leave your home, remember these evacuation tips:
- Do not walk through moving water. Six inches of moving water can make you fall. If you have to walk in water, walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
- Do not drive into flooded areas. If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground if you can do so safely. You and the vehicle can be quickly swept away.