FLOODING: Hazards that could be encountered during rescue and evacuation in flooded areas and how to prevent them

Most part of our country has been flooded because of heavy rainfall for some time now. Flooding being a natural occurrence, though with some man-made intonation due to individual activities needs to be curtailed to reduce the consequence.

In Benue State, Nigeria, the Benue State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) has said over 110,000 people in 24 communities including Makurdi, the state capital, have been displaced by flood in recent months.

The Executive Secretary of the agency, Boniface Ortese, told newsmen in Makurdi  that over 2,769 households were also affected. He explained that places affected included Achusa, Idye, Wurukum Market, Genabe, Industrial Layout, Demekpe, Wadata Market, Katungu, behind the Civil Service Commission, Agboughul-Wadata among others.

The major activities carried out during flooding is rescue operations to save life and properties together with clean up activities and evacuation.

Since these operations could be hazardous. Workers and volunteers involved with flood cleanup should be aware of the potential dangers involved, and the proper safety precautions.

Work-related hazards that could be encountered during rescue, clean up and evacuation exercise prior to flooding include:

  • Electrical hazards
  • Carbon Monoxide
  • Musculoskeletal hazards
  • Heat stress
  • Motor vehicles
  • Hazardous materials
  • Fire
  • Confined spaces
  • Falls, etc.

This information is intended to help employers and workers prepare in advance for anticipated response activities, and to prevent work-related injuries and illnesses in the field once rescue, recovery, and clean-up begin.

See NIOSH response plan for rescue and evacuation for FLOOD

Flood is an overflow of water that submerges land that is usually dry. The European Union (EU) Floods Directive defines a flood as a covering by water of land not normally covered by water. In the sense of “flowing water”, the word may also be applied to the inflow of the tide.

Flooding may occur as an overflow of water from water bodies, such as a river, lake, or ocean, in which the water overtops or breaks levees, resulting in some of that water escaping its usual boundaries, or it may occur due to an accumulation of rainwater on saturated ground in an areal flood.

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