What are the impacts?
Flooding is caused when more rain falls than the land can absorb or water courses, drainage and sewerage systems can cope with.
Pipes and drains may become blocked by debris. Water levels rise and spill over river embankments. Sewage rises in the sewers and escapes through drains, along with rodents.
As a result flood water is often polluted by sewage, chemicals and/or animal faeces if water has run off fields. Polluted flood water can cause a wide range of infectious diseases, including diarrhoeal disease.
Other risks are from injuries, drowning, contact with chemicals, being stranded, having no power or clean water and the stress and anxiety caused by these situations. These can affect a wide range of people.
The most vulnerable are the very young, the elderly and those with certain pre-existing conditions such as individuals on kidney dialysis and those with a compromised immune system.
When and where do floods occur?
Floods are more common during winter months but freak weather can cause floods in the summer. Some areas are more prone to floods than others. Some areas, often called flood plains, are more prone to floods than others.
What can you do?
You can protect yourself and family by taking simple precautions listed below:
- Check the weather forecast for flood warnings
- Take the advice of the emergency services
- Don not try to walk or drive through flood water
To check the weather forecast for your local area, go to http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/
Answers to many questions about flooding are available at http://www.hpa.org.uk/web/HPAweb&HPAwebStandard/HPAweb_C/1213686561005.
Advice for frontline responders [.pdf, 795KB]
Advice for the public [.pdf, 1.4MB]
General information following floods [.pdf, 99KB]
How to clean up safely following floods [.pdf, 104KB]
Coping without mains water [.pdf, 89KB]
To find out whether your home is at risk of flooding and for guidance on coping with flooding, visit the Natural Resources Wales website.
Health advice for people affected by flooding can be accessed from NHS Choices
What is being done to manage the impact?
The emergency services and local councils are the first responders to flooding. Priority is given to evacuating vulnerable people to safety and safeguarding basic supplies.
Natural Resources Wales is responsible for flood planning and defences and alerting. For more information see http://naturalresourceswales.gov.uk/alerts/flood-warnings/?lang=en#.UqXa_tJdVqx
The NHS provides health advice and healthcare.