Two cyclones have hit Mozambique within just a four week period. Just last week, cyclone Kenneth hit the northern part of the country leaving a death toll of 38 and leaving thousands homeless. It is paramount that we have basic knowledge of disaster preparedness.
Here’s what to do in the event that a cyclone threatens to hit your area, and if it is safe enough to shelter at home:
Before the storm:
- Check your insurances (home and car) are up to date so you’re properly covered.
- Clear your gutters, pipes and storm drains.
- Trim trees and branches near your home.
- Secure any loose objects outside your home, like garden furniture, bins or children’s toys.
- Get your roof checked for damage or corrosion.
- Make sure all doors, windows/shutters/blinds/curtains are closed. In serious storms or cyclones, tape any windows not protected by shutters in a criss-cross pattern.
- Make electronic copies of any important documents, like marriage/birth certificates and passports, and save them to a memory device or a secure online location.
- Unplug non-essential electrical items and use surge protectors.
- Prepare an emergency storm kit containing things like a first aid kit, a torch, batteries, candles, matches, bottled water and an emergency contact list.
- Park your car somewhere safe, away from trees.
During a storm or cyclone
- If you’re able to stay in your home, make sure you know where its strongest point is, and shelter under a mattress, strong table or bench if necessary. Stay there and keep your emergency kit close by.
- Stay off the roads and never drive through flood water.
- Follow news reports for updates on the storm and instructions from the authorities.
After a storm or cyclone has hit
- Don’t venture outside to check damage until it’s completely safe.
- When you do go outside, stay away from fallen trees, power lines, and flood water.
- Contact your insurer as early as possible for help. Do this before you start any major repair work.
- Remove any damaged items that could pose a health or injury risk from your home e.g. broken glass.