Keeping the Children Safe During Flood
Chrisley Ann Hinayas (The Freeman) - November 29, 2014 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Nowadays when it rains, it does not just pour in Metro Cebu - it floods! While the problems affects everybody, young children are among the most vulnerable.

Flood is one of the most terrifying natural disasters. Aside from the water rising to threatening levels (resulting from a long, heavy downpour), it also brings serious threats to our health and safety. As we have seen in recent floods, structures get destroyed and lives lost.

We cannot control the occurrence of flood, but we can minimize its adverse effects on people, especially the children. Preparedness for the flood can save many lives. 

Family members need to know what to do and be ready when flood comes around. The Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc.-Dolores Aboitiz Children's Fund offers the following simple reminders to help keep the whole family, the kids especially, safe during flood.

Before the flood

.Know beforehand if your area is flood-prone. Learn from the concerned agency what possible areas may be at risk of flooding.

.Keep yourself posted with the weather forecast. Regularly check the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical & Atmospheric Services Administration website ( and listen to the radio and TV reports to update yourself on any flood threats. Explain to your children what a flood is, what causes it, and what possible actions the family can do to keep safe. Also tell them that flooding is a natural disaster and that preparedness can save everyone.

.Transfer valuable and sentimental items off the floor to keep them from getting wet, to avoid the children tripping on them.

.Prepare emergency supplies sufficient to at least 72 hours. Have drinking water (equivalent to at least two liters per person per day), canned food, energy bars etc. Also have tools ready - can opener, flashlight, first-aid kit, duplicate keys of the house and car, and a portable battery-powered radio. Have the photocopy of identification cards, cash in bills, a few light clothes, emergency plan, and list of useful contacts. Put everything in a container that is easy to carry - this is your emergency kit.

.Create an emergency disaster plan identifying multiple routes to higher grounds and a safe destination. Discuss what each member should do at home if there's a flood. Make a list of things to be done, and where to store important documents such as birth certificates, financial documents etc.

.If told by local emergency authorities to evacuate, follow immediately. Ignoring such warning could jeopardize the safety of the children and the whole family.

During flood

.Follow the instructions of local authorities. Follow the evacuation routes identified; do not take shortcuts.

.Wherever you go, always take your emergency kit with you.

.If you are in a vehicle, do not drive through the flood waters. Your car can get stuck in the waters. Also, avoid crossing bridges.

.Move to higher and safe grounds to avoid the rising waters. If you get stuck at home, stay at the highest floor of the house, and wait for the emergency responders to come.

.Keep children away from the dirty water. Keep them away from dangerous and hazardous sites. The flood waters carry dirt and germs.

.Always keep children clean. Always wash their hands before meals.

.Stay tuned for updates and further instructions.

After the flood

.Do not return home until there is official advisory that it is already safe to do so.

.Exercise extreme caution when returning home; walk on higher grounds and avoid wading in water. Make sure that utilities such as electricity have been restored. All appliances and electronic components should be thoroughly checked, cleaned, and dried first by a certified electrician before entering the house because they may cause electrical shock.

.Watch for holes in the walls and floors. Be careful in stepping in as there might be broken glasses and other sharp debris around. They could cause injury when stepped on.

.Do not drink the water straight from the faucet; it may be contaminated. Boil drinking water first.

.Discard contaminated toys. Do not allow your children to play with toys that have been contaminated by flood water. Clothing, bedding, and other fabrics should be put on a hot wash (as indicated on the manufacturer's instructions).

.Keep an eye on the children's emotional reaction to the crisis. Talk to them, and listen to what they say.  Try to feel their emotions. Reassure them frequently that you, together with other people, are all there to keep them safe. Watch for symptoms of stress, including clinginess, stomachaches, nightmares, trouble eating or sleeping, or even a change in their behavior. Seek professional help if necessary.




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