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What is to be done in case of flood or mudflow Printable version

Last update: 30.09.2020

Floods and mudflows are natural disasters during which people and animals can die and buildings can be destructed. Safety during floods, mudflows to a great extend depends on preventive actions that are taken.  

The floods in majority of cases are caused by the following reasons:

 - heavy or prolonged precipitation, rapid melting of snow and ice jams;

 - influx of water from the sea on the coast and at the mouth of rivers with a strong wind or tide;

 - breakthrough of dams and reservoirs, which occurred both as a result of natural causes and through the fault of man.

Only in cases of breakthrough of ice jams and soil temporary dam s in the upper reaches of the rivers can floods occur instantly.

In other cases, there is a stretch of time allowing timely response to the threat of flooding.

It is also necessary to pay attention to hydrological forecasts.

If you want to provide yourself with individual preventive safety measures, you need to:

  • erect permanent structures instead of those that would collapse at the first wave impact;
  • teach all the family members how to swim;
  • have a boat (better to have two boats, an ordinary and inflatable one);
  • familiarize with topographically elevated points near the locality;
  • know the methods and forms of notifying on an approaching natural disaster.

Actions to be taken if you found yourself in a flooded zone

If you found yourself in a flooded zone, you need to:

  • turn off gas, electricity and water at your house;
  • put out burning heating stoves;
  • transfer valuable household items to the upper floors of the building or to attics;
  • cover the windows and doors of the first floors of the houses with boards or plywood to prevent the glass from breaking and the penetration of floating debris into the house;
  • open the latches on the doors in the sheds with cattle in them.

In the event of a sudden flood, take warm and preferably waterproof clothing, blankets, food, etc. with you, climb the most elevated point of the territory, which is known to have never been flooded. If there is none, you need to prepare for sailing the boat and other impromptu swimming facilities.

After draining of water, beware of torn and sagging electrical wires, damaged gas lines.

Before entering a house, you need to make sure that its structure has not loosened under the blows of the water waves.

Products found in water are not suitable for cooking as well as flood water.

Signs of mudflow hazard, mudflow threat

Mudflows are short-term mud-stone flows consisting of a mixture of water and loose fragments, moving in separate shafts typical for mountainous terrain.

They are formed as a result of the breakthrough of moraine lakes overflowing with water from melted snow and ablation of glaciers, in case of heavy and continuing precipitation, as well as in case of earthquakes.

The formation of mudflows in the mountainous regions of Kazakhstan is possible in the warm season (May - September).

The height of the mudflow can reach up to 10-20 meters (in some cases up to 40-50 meters), the speed of the flow is 3-5 and more m/s (in some cases up to 15-20 m/s).

It is practically impossible to stay alive being in the path of a mudflow, therefore prevention of mudflow hazard is of particular importance.

Signs of mudflow hazard:

  • heavy rainfall in a mudflow hazardous basin;
  • sharp and prolonged increase in air temperature in the upper reaches of mudflow hazardous rivers, causing overflow of mountain lakes and creating the danger of their breakthrough;
  • sharp drop in the water level in the lake or the formation of craters on its surface, indicating a breakthrough of the lake  temporary dam (dam);
  • earthquake leading to the destruction of the lake temporary dam (dam).

Signs of an immediate and close mudflow threat:

  • cessation or drastic decrease in runoff in a mudflow channel, indicating the accumulation of water in the moraine-glacial complex;
  • emergence of a rumble in the upper mudflow channel;
  • shaking of the soil due to stones carried by mudflow;
  • appearance of a cloud of mud dust generated from the shock wave in front of the mudflow shaft;
  • formation of pre-mudflow floods characterized by increased turbidity of the water.

How to behave in mudflow hazardous areas

  • constantly follow the media reports on the situation in the mountains;
  • leave the mudflow hazardous channel if heavy rainfall is observed in the headwaters of the mudflow hazardous basin;
  • do not approach the moving mudflow closer than 50-70 m.;
  • do not stop near steep cliffs and steep slopes as rockfall can occur from vibration caused by mudflow;
  • transportation along mudflow channels should be carried out with an interval of at least 20-30 meters between people;
  • do not stop to rest and do not set up camp near mudflow hazardous channels, on lake temporary dams (dams) and under them;
  • if signs of mudflow are detected, immediately move away as far from the channel as possible up the mountain slopes;
  • do not go down into the mudflow channel after passing through the mudflow shaft - another shaft may follow it;
  • proceed with maximum caution when descending into the channel and when driving along it after passing mudflow, especially in areas of mudflow cuts and potholes;
  • it is recommended to be on the moraine-glacial complex and to move along it during periods when there is no danger of mudflows or there are unlikely. It is better to move along at negative air temperatures;
  • do not move along the temporary dams of lakes composed of unstable lying debris as well as along those that were formed by a moving glacier or avalanche.
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