Ahmed Idris, the Secretary General of the Kenya Red Cross, stated in an interview with Sky News that countries like Kenya and Tanzania are severely affected by climate-related extreme weather events. He highlighted the unusually intense rainfall causing deadly floods in recent weeks. Although the current season typically brings heavy rain, Idris pointed out that the recent extreme intensity of these rains over brief periods has led to significant flooding. He also noted that after two decades of climate change, the expectation is for wet seasons to become wetter and dry and hot seasons to intensify further. (SOURCE: climatecentre.org)

Floods are both dangerous and unpredictable, impacting entire communities and landscapes within a very short time. Being prepared and knowing the right actions to take can make a significant difference in safety.

Here’s a guide to help you and your loved ones stay safe during floods.

1. Stay Informed—knowledge is your first line of defense

Monitor local news and weather updates regularly to stay informed about potential flood warnings in your area. Many regions have alert services that you can subscribe to receive real-time notifications on your phone. Understanding the difference between a flood watch and a flood warning is vital—while a watch means flooding is possible, a warning means it will occur or is already happening.

2. Prepare an emergency Kit

Prepare an emergency kit that includes essential items such as water, non-perishable food, a flashlight, batteries, medications, important documents in waterproof containers, and first aid supplies. Ensure this kit is easily accessible in case you need to evacuate quickly.

3. Know your evacuation routes

Familiarize yourself with the primary evacuation routes in your area and have a planned destination, such as a friend’s house or a community shelter, where you can stay until it is safe to return home. Make sure every family member knows the evacuation plan.

4. Protect your home

Take steps to safeguard your home by cleaning out gutters and drains to prevent water buildup. If time allows, use sandbags around your property to help divert moving water. Elevate electrical appliances off the floor and move valuable items to higher levels of your home.

5. Avoid contact with floodwater

Floodwater can be contaminated with sewage, chemicals, and other hazardous materials. Avoid contact with floodwater whenever possible. Do not attempt to walk, swim, or drive through floodwaters. Just six inches of moving water is enough to knock you down, and one foot of water can move a car.

6. Follow official guidance

During a flood, adhere to the instructions provided by local authorities. If an evacuation is ordered, leave immediately. Do not wait until it’s too late as roads may become impassable. Listen carefully to any safety instructions or updates during the flood.

7. Check on your neighbors

If it’s safe to do so, check on your neighbors, especially those who are elderly, disabled, or living alone. Community support is crucial during emergencies, and ensuring everyone’s safety can help reduce potential injuries or fatalities.

8. After the flood: Stay Safe

After the floodwaters recede, do not return home until officials say it is safe. Be cautious inside your home—watch for snakes and other animals that might have come in with the floodwaters. Check for damage to the electricity system and gas leaks. Use a stick to poke through debris to avoid harming yourself on hidden objects.

These tips emphasize the importance of preparation, caution, and community support during floods. By taking these precautions seriously, you can safeguard your well-being and that of your loved ones during such challenging times.