Floods are a common hazard in Bulawayo as they affect local communities especially low lying flood prone/risk areas.
Residents are advised to follow the protective measures outlined below;
Before a Flood
- 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 flood water from entering the building
- Seal walls in basements with waterproofing compounds to avoid seepage
During a flood
- Listen to the radio, television or other media platforms 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 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, 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.
After a Flood
- Avoid moving water.
- Stay away from damaged areas unless your assistance has been specifically requested by police, fire, or relief organization.
- Emergency workers will be assisting people in flooded areas. You can help them by staying off the roads and out of the way.
- Play it safe. Additional flooding or flash floods can occur. Listen for local warnings and information. If your car stalls in rapidly rising waters, get out immediately and climb to higher ground.
- Return home only when authorities indicate it is safe.
- Roads may still be closed because they have been damaged or are covered by water. Barricades have been placed for your protection. If you come upon a barricade or a flooded road, go another way.
- Stay on firm ground. Moving water only six inches deep can sweep you off your feet. Avoid stagnant water as it may be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines.
- Flooding may have caused familiar places to change. Floodwaters often erode roads and walkways. Flood debris may hide animals and broken bottles, and it's also slippery. Avoid walking or driving through such areas
- Be aware of areas where floodwaters have receded. Roads may have weakened and could collapse under the weight of a car.
- Stay out of any building if it is surrounded by floodwaters.
- Use extreme caution when entering buildings; there may be hidden damage, particularly in foundations.
A flood can cause physical hazards and emotional stress. You need to look after yourself and your family as you focus on cleaning up and repairing.
- Avoid floodwaters; water may be contaminated by oil, gasoline or raw sewage.
- Service damaged septic tanks, cesspools, pits and leaching systems as soon as possible. Damaged sewer systems are serious health hazards.
- Clean and disinfect everything that got wet. Mud left from floodwaters can contain sewage and chemicals.
- Rest often and eat well.
In case of any emergency, kindly contact the City of Bulawayo on the following emergency Contact Numbers:
Landlines Only -993/994
All Networks -02922 71717-9