Wednesday, September 17, 2014








·         Because floodwaters may carry disease from sewage, the only safe floodexposed foods are those in sealed metal cans. Vacuum packed food should be discarded due to difficulty in cleaning the packaging. Throw out dented or damaged cans as they might contain leaks.

·         All bottles or containers of food with screw top lids that have been flooded should be discarded. Food that has come into contact with contaminated floodwaters and cannot be washed and disinfected should be discarded.

·         All perishable foods left in a refrigerator for more than 24 hours without electricity should be discarded.

·         Frozen food left in a freezer will stay frozen for a few days without electricity if the door is kept shut. These products can be refrozen if ice crystals are still present and the food has not been exposed to flood waters.

Cosmetics and Medicines

·         All cosmetics, medicines, and other toiletries that have been exposed to flood waters should be disposed of.

Walls and Floors


·         Clean all mud from the premises, then scrub cement walls and floors thoroughly with detergent and water. Rinse and repeat. Rinse well and disinfect with a suitable diluted disinfectant.


·         Remove all mud and refuse. Clean, disinfect, and ventilate the area to dry the wood. Keeping the temperature at around 21 degrees Celsius will help the area to dry.

·         Plywood and particleboard sub floors are usually not recoverable after having been submerged in water as they are constructed from nonwaterproof glues, which separate when in contact with water.

·         Soaked wood floors, especially hardwood, may buckle. It may be possible to restore them but a new floor covering may be required.


·         Let plaster walls and ceilings dry thoroughly before washing. Brush off loose dirt, wash with a detergent or other cleaner and then disinfect.

·         Wallpaper will probably have to be replaced.

·         Linoleum and vinyl tile floors may be loosened or damaged by moisture. Take opinion for construction engineer / contractor to determine if the damage can be repaired.


·         Ceilings above the high water mark may appear dry and undamaged but should still be checked as water can wick upwards through the walls. Ceilings that are below the high water mark should be vented by removing ceiling tiles or cutting holes in each cavity between the floor joists. Clean and disinfect after checking.

Doors and Windows

·         Doors should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. Removing the doorknobs and laying the door on a level surface may help to prevent warping of wooden doors.

·         Locks that have been exposed to flood waters should be taken apart and cleaned, disinfected, dried and oiled before reassembling. Be careful with the oil as it could drip.

·         Doors and window frames could be warping and twisting and should be repaired if necessary. Sliding windows should be removed and both the windows and track cleaned. Sliding or bifold doors should be removed and both the door and tracks cleaned and disinfected.

·         Do not paint and redecorate until everything is completely dry.

Wooden Furniture

·         Remove all drawers and other working parts as soon as possible. Clean and disinfect thoroughly and allow drying. Wipe varnished furniture that has not been in direct contact with the floodwaters, but instead exposed to high humidity, with a cloth dampened in ammonia, spirits of camphor or essence of peppermint to remove white spots or scum. Immediately apply furniture wax or polish.  


·         Chairs, chesterfields and sofas with metal or wooden frames, which have come into contact with floodwater, can sometimes be salvaged but the covering, stuffing and padding must be discarded.

·         Remove all dirt and debris, clean thoroughly and allow to dry in the sun, or use an electric heater or fan.

Rugs and Carpets

·         Remove loose dirt, shampoo with a product containing a disinfectant, and dry. (Make sure the disinfectant will not discolor the fabric). Sewage soaked carpets must be discarded.

·         To prevent mould and mildew it is essential to clean and thoroughly dry carpets as quickly as possible (within two days). You can do this by ventilating the area, applying heat, and using fans to circulate the air. Typically, homeowners can’t effectively dry large areas of soaked carpets themselves and qualified professionals are required.

·         Glued down rugs and carpets may have to be removed if submerged, as the floodwaters will deteriorate the glue. Carpet underpads may need to be replaced.

Dishes and Utensils

·         Contaminated dishes and utensils must be thoroughly washed with disinfectant, rinsed and disinfected before being used. Typically, utensils soaked in a chlorine solution of 1% for fifteen minutes should be disinfected.

·         Wooden utensils should be thrown out.

Clothing and Bedding

·         Mattresses and comforters soaked with floodwaters cannot be adequately disinfected and should be discarded. Pillows filled with feathers or synthetic material should be disposed of.

·         Cotton and linen fabric soiled with red or yellow clay need special treatment. DO NOT immerse in hot soapy water, or the stains will set. Brush off all loose dirt and rinse until no more dirt can be removed, then wash in warm soapy water (several times if necessary). Add a disinfectant at the end of the washing cycle but be careful when using bleach.


·         Clean with a damp cloth, then buff with a dry cloth. Stuff newspaper into purses and shoes to help retain their shape. Leave suitcases open to dry out. Keep leather goods away from heat or direct sunlight while drying. Clean with saddle soap when dry. Use a suede brush or steel wool on suede. Rinse leather and suede garments in cold water and dry them away from heat or direct sunlight.

Books, Documents and Paper Goods

1.      Water damaged books can be salvaged by careful, slow drying. However, sewage contaminated books should be disinfected or thrown away. After pages have been exposed to the air for a while they can be pressed to prevent crumbling. If they are not thoroughly dried, they may mildew.

2.      Make every attempt to clean and save legal documents and other valuable documents, as this is less costly than paying to replace them.

3.      Paper that is kept together in a wet state for several days may meld into a solid mass and become unsalvageable. Therefore, books and papers that have been damaged can be stored in a freezer until time is available to work on them. To do this:

·         Rinse off dirt, towel dry by blotting (not rubbing).

·         Wrap books loosely in freezer or waxed paper.

·         Pack (spine down) in a sturdy container.

·         Freeze.

If you have important books you wish to save or restore:

·         Hold the book closed when rinsing.

·         If the book is partially wet or damp, stand the book on the top or bottom edge with covers open at a 90 deg. angle and air dry.

·         If the book is very wet, lay it flat on a clean surface, interleave less than 20% of the book with absorbent material, and replace the interleaving when it becomes damp.

·         After the pages have been exposed to the air for a while, press them to prevent crumbling.

·         Alternate drying and pressing until the pages are thoroughly dry. Otherwise, mildew will result.

·         Avoid drying books for too long in the full sun as this can damage the bindings.


·         Remove from enclosures or frames and carefully rinse with cool clean water. Be sure not to touch or blot surfaces. Hang to air dry with clips on a nonimage area, or lay flat on absorbent paper. Keep the photographs from contact with adjacent surfaces or each other. If there are too many photographs to air dry in 48 hours, freezing them with freezer or wax paper interleaves may be able to preserve them for a time.

Framed Artwork

·         Remove paintings from the frames in a safe, dry place. DO NOT separate paintings from their stretchers. Keep wet paintings horizontal with the paint side up and nothing touching the surface. Avoid direct sunlight.

·         If the art has a glass frame and sticks to the glass, leave it in the frame and dry it with the glass side down.


·         Replace any telephone wiring that has been submerged. Even though the phone may still work, the floodwaters may cause corrosion, which could cause problems in the future.


·         Padded or stuffed toys such as stuffed animals should be discarded or taken to a professional cleaner. Plastic and metal toys should be cleaned with a detergent and a disinfectant. Toy clothing should be treated the same way as household clothing and bedding.

Other Equipment and Appliances

·         Before using, allow small appliances (toasters, kettles) to dry completely and then thoroughly clean with a detergent solution, rinse and disinfect.

·         All lighting fixtures that were flooded should be removed and checked. Take floor and table lamps apart and clean parts thoroughly.

·         Throw away any extension cords that are not in excellent condition.

·         Your gas appliances should be cleaned and controls and gas lines checked by a qualified serviceman before reuse.

·         Appliances with foam insulation, such as some ovens, refrigerators, and freezers that were submerged in floodwater, may have to be discarded because they cannot be disinfected. Check with a qualified serviceperson as to whether or not it is possible to remove and replace the insulation.

·         Consult electrician before operating any electric or motordriven appliance.

Water and Sewer Systems Home Plumbing

·         Have floor drains and sump pumps flushed and disinfected. If a private sewage disposal system is used, ensure that chlorinated (or other disinfectant) water is not discharged to the disposal field.

·         During a flood, the water pressure in the plumbing lines can reverse, and water in pipes can be contaminated with floodwater. Have a plumber inject bleach into the lines to disinfect them.

·         The municipality typically notifies households serviced by a municipal sewer when the sewage system has been restored. You should contact them if they do not inform.

Public Water Systems

·         If you are on a public water system, contact local officials in order to determine whether or not your water is safe to drink. It is advised to continue using boiled water for longer time after sever flood to be at safer side.

Returning to Home

Take following precautions before activating your house.
·         An electrician checks the electrical system.

·         A gas fitter has checked natural gas and propane appliances.

·         A safe supply of drinking water is available.

·         The sanitation facilities are working properly.

·         All floodcontaminated rooms have been cleaned and disinfected.

Before rebuilding, ensure that the house is dry. Many problems result from rebuilding after a flood before everything dries.
I am sure tips will be helpful to the house owners in J & K who may be in process of cleaning and arranging their home after the flood.



Monday, September 15, 2014

Planning Recovery Process (Reconstruction and Rehabilitation)

J&K Flood Management Operation-2
Planning Recovery process (Reconstruction and Rehabilitation)

This is the second post on J&K Flood management as my professional contribution at my personal level to all those working in relief and recovery operation Jammu and Kashmir. Post 1 was on the cleaning and other material people in affected area will need. This post covers tips on planning for commencement of recovery process.
Recovery (Rehabilitation and Reconstruction) process – Step 1

1.    Planning and management of a survey to be conducted to assess the damage

a)      Standards, accepted definitions, documentation mechanisms and procedures for post disaster data collection and damage assessment.

b)      Establishing a building inspection procedure (e.g. using a standardized Rapid inspection technique to assess the structure and recommend repairs / rebuilt) and a safe Entry tagging system (i.e. no entry, Limited entry or safe entry) for buildings can facilitate reoccupation.

c)      Involve community / volunteers to collect data on damage in standard format.

d)     Data collection teams should be created at Panchayat level (a team under each Panchayat) in village and Municipal Corporation should handle (number of team based on number of wards) it in the urban areas.

2.    Planning and Management of  Rehabilitation and Reconstruction – Step 2

a)      Analysis of damage assessment survey and identify resource needs for rehabilitation and reconstruction.

b)      Providing services such as reconstruction planning, building design and expert advisory, construction and supervision services;

c)      Building and repairing residential buildings and public service facilities such as schools, hospitals, broadcasting and television facilities, and cultural, sports and welfare facilities;

d)     Building and repairing infrastructures for services such as roads, water and gas supply, drainage, sewage and garbage disposal;

e)      Building and repairing the agricultural infrastructure and providing agricultural technical services;

f)       Providing machinery, tools, equipment, building materials and other support goods;

g)      The locally existing ecologically friendly materials should be made use of. All the available local resources, local talents, subsidies under various schemes of the governments should be made use of like Nehru Rojgar Yojana, Indira Gandhi Awas Yojna etc.

h)      Providing personnel, organizing training and assisting in the provision of human resources and in job placement;

i)        Encouraging investments in industrial and commercial service facilities and in commercial infrastructure development.

j)        While rehabilitating people living on the dwellings on encroached land in river inundation area people would be shifted to safer places and permanent houses provided in such new and safe areas. In such circumstances, it is necessary to ensure that the new allotment of house sites is registered in the name of women. Involve community while taking such decisions which support gender issues and women empowerment.

I hope donors and administration would find above inputs useful in pro-active planning. For any questions - author can be reached at

Sunday, September 14, 2014

J&K Flood Management Operation-1: Current Needs – (a) Public Communication, (b) Cleaning Material, (c) Mud Dumping

I have decided to offer my contribution to the flood victims in Jammu and Kashmir through sharing of my “knowledge & Experience” in overall disaster management through my blog. I will numerical sequence all my posts with a mention on specific subject (underlines) covered. These are my personal views based on experience and education I acquired during last more then 35 years of professional carrier.

Without going into the past history – I would start addressing issues relevant to the current dynamics of the situation in affected areas. This post is dedicated to relief supplies which - victims may need at this point of time (as on 15th Sept. 2014) with few points on – how administration should approach relief supply management.

Relief supply management – some basic steps:
1.      State administration must take a quick impact assessment on the day-to-day basic needs [food, water, electricity, shelter, clothing, medication and medical services, attendance to disabled, information system (radio, TV etc). communication (PSTN, Cell phone etc)] for a family or individual.
2.      In case situation does not permit to conduct the - initial need assessment by sending teams physically, administration can simulate the possible situation and draw some broad assessment on “probable community needs”. Situation assessment (physical or virtual) will help avoid arrival of “unusable supplies” as such merchandise will divert crucial resources (manpower, storage, transport etc) which are generally under extreme constraint in the aftermath of any server disaster.

  • No unsolicited relief supply should be accepted.
  • Community representative should be involved in distribution of “relief supplies”.
  • Management of places of worships (like Masjids in case of Srinagar) should be encouraged to take part relief supply distribution.
  • All efforts should be made to inform general public about arrangements made for distribution of relief supplies and relief services.

(a)   Communication
Communication remains a “crucial need” for public at large during all phases of disaster (pre, during and post disaster). Relief operation would be ineffective if people do not know - “where to go for what serives”. People need information on the developments and changing situation and such needs becomes more acute and urgent during emergencies.
Fulfillment of optimal “Communication needs” should not wait for restoration of Pubic Switched Telecom Networks (PSTN), broad cast stations and cable service – as it may take longer time due to various reasons.
Radio (battery operated) sets – would work as an interim relief to the people in areas without power and telecom services. Medium wave radio sets should be distributed in the far flanged areas cut off from power and telecommunication. The plus point with radio is – they operate on AA / AAA battery and have no dependency on electric supply, power consumption is low, message can be sent from any transmitter at a faraway location if the local transmitter is damaged, no line of site requirement, no range limitation.
Administration should design and issue radio bulletin on relief supply outlets, mobile health services and the area to be covered on hour to hour basis.
Though radio will provide “one-way communication” – but I am sure incoming information will give a sense of relief to the common man in distress and lower his / her anxiety.
Name of people in the shelters / relief camps can also be relayed on the radios periodically. This will be relieving their relations elsewhere from the stress and anxiety.
Notice / Stickers at Places of Worships in Community – is another way administration should plan. People in community visit such places and I am sure displaying information on notice boards at such places will help.

These are tips on – “How to keep people informed” under worst situation when revival of life line infrastructures will take finite time.
(b)   Cleaning and other Material
What a family will need first – when they enter into their home after flood recedes?
“Cleaning house” will be the first priority for family members. Accordingly each family should be provided with
·         gloves, masks and other protective gear 
·         pails, mops, squeegees and plastic garbage bags
·         unscented detergent
·         large containers for wet bedding and clothing, and lines to hang them to dry
·       You may also need to rent extension cords, submersible pumps, wet/dry shop vacuums and heaters.
·         Plastic sheets
·         Sleeping bags
·         Extra cloths

Administration should - Prepare a list of relief supplies which are needed and notify the list widely. The list should not only have name of supply but also should have – numbers / units required, location (s) where it is to be sent, receiver’s coordinates and contact details etc.

List should be updated every week or earlier as may be required. In the current requirement –State admiration should include cleaning supplies (indicative list given above) in standard pack for each household and supply it. Donor must ensure that the packets are readied in such a way that a normal person can carry him / herself without any assistance.
Generally occupants will clean their dwellings and collect mud / debris outside their place. Administration must facilitate disposal of waste / mud quickly in order to avoid any pandemic situation. Instructions should be issued to the dwelling owners on collecting and putting waste / mud outside their home.

(c) Mud Dumping

Debris, mud and waste which have clogged each house hold and streets need to be managed under appropriate plan – keeping potential threat to public health and environmental issues into consideration.

Cleaning operation should start promptly to prevent nuisance conditions, odors, disease, and water contamination from runoff. To enable timely cleanup of flood debris items referenced above, the Department will temporarily not enforce certain regulatory requirements, as described below.

The quantum of mud / debris would be huge (100 of thousands of quintal) and the waste needs to be managed properly. Under the mud / debris disposal plan for J&K flood – the administration should identify disposal sites. Adequate arrangements should be made for collection of mud / debris, community wise. Waste and debris should be handled and stored in a manner to prevent a release to storm drains, streams, ditches, and other surface waters. Waste should be stored in upland areas away from concentrated storm water flows, and in a manner that prevents erosion and transport of materials.

Strict vigil should be enforces to ensure that waste / mud and debris are not released into Jhelum river any other water body in and around Srinagar.

I hope donors and administration would find above input useful. For any questions - author can be reached at