A flood is distressing and its consequences can be difficult to deal with.
Floods are usually the result of continuous heavy rain or storms, but they may also be caused by tsunami and coastal-storm inundation. A flash flood often appears as a torrent, can carry rocks, mud, and other debris and can sweep away most things in its path.
A flood becomes dangerous if:
- the water is very deep or travelling very fast
- the floods have risen very quickly
- the floodwater is contaminated or contains debris, such as trees and sheets of corrugated iron.
The anticipation of flooding can cause worry, fear, anger and uncertainty. By strengthening your resilience, you will be better able to better cope with the challenges that flooding causes.
Connect with whānau, friends and neighbours to feel safer. You can help each other, as are probably going through the same flood related challenges. You can be a source of strength to each other.
Keep yourself well informed, but avoid sensationalism of the event. Stay hopeful and try to consider these stressful circumstances in a broader context. Take care of yourself by eating well and getting plenty of rest, and try to avoid alcohol and drugs, as this will help you cope better with the stress.
If you find yourself having difficulty managing after the event, please seek support and visit the other links in this section.
Please see these practical tips from New Zealand Civil Defence:
Before a flood:
- Find out from your local council if your home or business is at risk from flooding. Ask about evacuation plans and local public alerting systems; ask what to do with your pets and livestock if you must evacuate
- Know where the closest high ground is and how to get there
- Develop a Household Emergency Plan.
- Assemble and maintain the Emergency Survival Items for your home, as well as a portable getaway kit
- Check your insurance policy to ensure you have sufficient cover.
During a flood or if a flood is imminent:
- Listen to your local radio stations, as emergency management officials will be broadcasting the most appropriate advice for your community and situation
- If you have a disability or need support, contact your support network
- Put your household emergency plan into action and check your getaway kit
- Be prepared to evacuate quickly, if it becomes necessary
- Where possible, move pets inside or to a safe place, and move stock to higher ground
- Consider using sandbags to keep water away from your home
- Lift valuable household items and chemicals as high above the floor as possible
- Fill bathtubs, sinks and storage containers with clean water in case water becomes contaminated
- Turn off utilities if told to do so by authorities, as it can help prevent damage to your home or community. Unplug small appliances to avoid damage from power surges
- Do not attempt to drive or walk through floodwaters unless it is absolutely essential.
After a flood:
- It may not be safe to return home even when the floodwaters have receded. Continue to listen to your local radio station for Civil Defence instructions
- Help others if you can, especially people who may require special assistance
- Throw away food including canned goods and water that has been contaminated by floodwater
- Avoid drinking or preparing food with tap water until you are certain it is not contaminated. If in doubt, check with your local council or public health authority
- Look for and report broken utility lines to appropriate authorities
- If your property is damaged, take notes and photographs for insurance purposes. If you rent your property contact your landlord and your contents insurance company as soon as possible.