Weather disturbances are coming and going. We are learning some lessons but ignoring many. It is time for us to make a checklist, not wait for another cyclone and implement the basic precautions to minimise the impacts.
On October 3, AP Raj, an Al Ghubra resident, got up early in the morning and found his flat's lobby full of water on the day of the cyclone Shaheen. Before he could guess the source of water that was coming through one of the walls, there was enough for him to mop as it was traveling from the lobby to the kitchen and then to other rooms.
“Directing the water to the bathroom for a proper passage was an arduous task for me. The more I was struggling, the more water was coming and it would have been a flash flood in my house had I not contacted a friend who is a civil engineer'', said Raj while explaining how he could save a proper flash flood in his flat with the help of a friend.
By then, Raj had realised that the water was coming from the roof of the house. He went there and saw that an underground pipe through which Internet connection was given to his house, was broken and had become the only outlet for the rainwater accumulated on the roof. He sealed the pipe with old clothes. The problem was minimised but it proved to be only a temporary solution.
Water was still coming, and it was an anxious moment for Raj. He contacted his friend Manoj who advised him to immediately go to the roof and check all the four rainwater outlets. Raj found the outlet choked with some trash that got accumulated on the rooftop with time. As soon as he removed the garbage and did minor cleaning of the area, accumulated water started flowing properly and leakage in Raj's flat stopped immediately.
The lesson learned from this situation is cleaning of roof tops immediately after we get cyclone or storm alerts from government agencies. “Cleaning of the rooftop is important otherwise also... Raj was lucky that the Internet line was going through the pipe that caused the accumulation of water in his flat. Had it been electricity, it would have caused electrocution to the house occupants.”
Soon after the cyclone alerts, people generally start accumulating necessary eatables but forget to seal the pores on the sides of the window frames fitted in concrete walls. This is a general complaint of water making its way into houses through window holes, which keeps them occupied until the final passage of the weather disturbance.
“It is okay if you are in your house and mopping as when you are noticing the water. But if you are not there in the house at the time of weather disturbance, the water gets accumulated everywhere in your house and by the time you are back, you see all your furniture, bed, electric equipment, carpets etc damaged. Again there are chances of electrocution due to wet floor and water entering in some electric sockets'', said Shahid Akhtar, another civil engineer in a construction company in Suhar.
The lesson learned here is to fix window holes on normal days and not wait for a storm to implement it.
Rakesh Jha, a Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) expert, however, suggested to be alert during storm and extra alert if it is a thunderstorm.
He suggested the least use of plumbing sources, as they may cause lightning travel through plumbing during a thunderstorm.
“If water is coming into your house from any source, direct or indirect, through a broken window or a door, immediately turn off your main power source. It can cause electrical fire after water coming in contact with the power'', he said.