Thursday , 24 October 2019
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Ferocious floods

Kedar Kulkarni

The teacher began, “We studied the havoc caused by the floods in our last class. All of us have seen the news of how people suffered. You will wonder how the water level reached so high. The NDRF (National Disaster Response Force) or the local rescue teams made use of boats to move people to safer places. One can imagine the amount of precipitation that must have occurred in a short time for the water to bypass the natural drainage system. Dams began to overflow and water had to be released from the dams to prevent any danger to the dams itself. This additionally increased the water level of the rivers.”

“Now let us now look at the dangers that people face after the floods,” she continued.

“Due to the continuous downpour, houses may become weak, and many may collapse. So will be the case of some bridges,” said Rahul.

“There may be huge landslides that cause damage to the surrounding areas. And in case there are towns and villages downstream then it will be very dangerous,” said Meera.

“Trees get uprooted and block the roads. They may even bring down electrical cables and poles and cause dangers such as electrocution,” said Raju.

“That will cause disruptions to the power as well,” said Rahul.

“It was shown in the news that there was no water supply as well as there was a power shut down. People from the ground and lower floors were seen on higher floors. Cars were also totally submerged,” added Meera.

“The aquatic animals also were forced to come to the urban submerged areas along with the flood water. There were pictures of fish seen on the streets and crocodiles on the roof of a house. We do not know how many cattle died in these floods. It is a very big blow to farmers as well. All the standing crops got destroyed. Clearing all the fallen trees, poles, cables, roads and landslides takes a lot of effort. Rehabilitation of those who lose their houses is a real challenge. Medical aid to the people affected by and trapped in the floods is very critical. The elderly and the children also get affected very easily. Most common diseases that spread after flood conditions are dengue, malaria, typhoid, cholera and leptospirosis. Snakebites is another danger faced. Health agencies need to take a lot of preventive and corrective measures to stop and curb the outburst of any possible epidemic situation. The water supply is also heavily contaminated. Supply of safe drinking water becomes very critical. Dry foods like biscuits and bread may be alright to survive but safe drinking water is very essential. It is clear that it will be a huge exercise to bring about a total rehabilitation of those affected by the floods,” the teacher concluded.

(Writer is a mechanical engineer and runs a hands-on science activity centre at Margao)

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