Keep yourself safe from diseases, accidents in waterlogged areas with these dos and don’ts


Incessant rainfall has led to waterlogged roads in many areas in cities like Pune, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Delhi, etc. Waterlogged roads not only lead to traffic snarls but can also affect health and safety, as it can increase the risk of fatal accidents, skidding, and damage to vehicle engines.

According to National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), the increasing trend of urban flooding is a universal phenomenon and poses a great challenge to urban planners the world over. It notes that problems associated with urban floods range from relatively localised incidents to major incidents, resulting in cities being inundated from hours to several days. “Therefore, the impact can also be widespread, including temporary relocation of people, damage to civic amenities, deterioration of water quality, and risk of epidemics,” its website reads.

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As such, here are some ways in which you can stay safe.

What causes waterlogging?

Storm water drainage systems in the past were designed for a rainfall intensity of 12 – 20 mm. These capacities have been getting very easily overwhelmed whenever rainfall of higher intensity has been experienced, NDMA notes, adding that “very poor maintenance” is also another reason.

“Encroachments are also a major problem in many cities and towns. Natural streams and watercourses have formed over thousands of years due to the forces of flowing water in the respective watersheds. Habitations started growing into towns and cities alongside rivers and watercourses. As a result of this, the flow of water has increased in proportion to the urbanisation of the watersheds. Ideally, the natural drains should have been widened (similar to road widening for increased traffic) to accommodate the higher flows of stormwater. But on the contrary, there have been large-scale encroachments on the natural drains and the river flood plains. Consequently, the capacity of the natural drains has decreased, resulting in urban flooding,” it reads.

According to NDMA, improper disposal of solid waste, including domestic, commercial and industrial waste and dumping of construction debris into the drains also contributes significantly to reducing their capacities. It is imperative to take better operations and maintenance actions, it states.

According to a 2016- Press Information Bureau (PIB) interview with Dr Kapil Gupta, professor, department of civil engineering Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, unplanned construction in low-lying areas, solid waste in urban drainage channels, and increased rainfall due to changing climatic patterns are some of the identified common causes of urban flooding the world over.

In deciding whether to take a road or not, riders must measure the depth of the water (Express Photo by Gajendra Yadav/New Delhi)

A Royal Enfield spokesperson explained to indianexpress.com in an earlier report that there are a few monsoon riding safety tips which have to be followed.

For instance, when riding through a waterlogged road, a rider must keep the following things in in mind

*Ensure that tyres and brakes are in a good condition as you’ll be riding on wet roads.
*Ensure that all the lights, indicators and switch gears are functioning properly.
*Exposed wires in your bike should be concealed as live wires are prone to short circuits. This is dangerous both to the bike and the rider.
*Ensure that your motorcycle chain is properly lubed all the time.
*Wear all the safety riding gears. It is important to protect yourself from any unwanted slide.
*After the ride, clean the chain and lube it again.
*Avoid narrow streets

In deciding whether to take a road or not, riders must measure the depth of the water, and make sure it is below the bike’s bash guard. “If you’re unable to gauge its depth, take an alternative route, even if it’s longer. Also, maintain a fair amount of gap with the vehicle in front of you,” the spokesperson said.

Always ensure to call roadside assistance (toll free number 1800 2100 007) or the nearest authorised service centre for help in case the vehicle gets submerged.

What to do after getting out of waterlogged place?

Dr Sulaiman Ladhani, consulting chest physician, MD chest and tuberculosis said that water-borne diseases can increase due to walking/riding in stagnant water. “Due to these overflowing water, dirt, and rodents predisposes people to illnesses like cholera. So precautions are extremely important. Take bath immediately after getting wet. It is important to eat warm food. Avoid canned foods. Mosquitoes should not be allowed to breed in surrounding areas,” said Dr Ladhani.

According to NDMA,

*Don’t drive through waterlogged areas.
*Don’t enter such waters. In case you need to, wear suitable footwear.
*Stay away from sewerage lines, gutters, drains, culverts etc.
*Stay away from electric poles and fallen power lines to avoid electrocution.
*Drink chlorinated or boiled water.
*Take clean and safe food.
*Sprinkle insecticides in the water ponds/stagnant water.
*Please cooperate with disaster survey team by giving correct information.

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