The devastating Kerala floods has affected 20 million people and has displaced about 150,000 people to relief camps.
Rescue and relief efforts are underway, while the state still receives rainfall, with the water levels to rise further, Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said.
During the floods:Avoid contact with flood water due to potentially elevated levels of contamination associated with raw sewage and other hazardous or toxic substances that may be in the flood water.Wash your hands frequently with soap, especially before drinking and eating.Do not allow children to play in flood water, or play with toys contaminated with flood water.Report cuts or open wounds, and report all symptoms of illness. Keep vaccinations current.
Recover after flooding:Flood water may have high levels of raw sewage or other hazardous substances. Early symptoms from exposure to contaminated flood water may include upset stomach, intestinal problems, headache and other flu-like discomfort. Anyone experiencing these and any other problems should immediately seek medical attention.Do not use the sewage system until water in the soil absorption field is lower than the water level around the house.Be sure children are protected from chemicals and diseases in flood water. Behavior such as crawling or placing objects in their mouths can increase a child's risk of exposure and sickness.To kill all major water-borne bacterial pathogens, bring water to a rolling boil for 1 full minute. Boil 3 minutes at elevations above 5280 ft (1 mile or 1.6 km).Do not turn on the pump due to danger of electric shock. Do not drink or wash with water from the flooded well until it is tested and safe to use.Mold can cause serious health problems. The key to mold control is moisture control. After the flood, remove standing water and dry indoor areas. Remove and discard anything that has been wet for more than 24-48 hours.Disasters can generate tons of debris, including building rubble, soil and sediments, green waste (e.g.., trees and shrubs), personal property, ash, and charred wood. Typical methods of recycling and solid waste disposal in sanitary landfills often cannot be applied to disaster debris because of the large volume of waste and reluctance to overburden existing disposal capacity.Eliminate standing water where mosquitos can breed. Mosquitos can sharply increase after a flood, due to the sudden availability of standing water which they require for breeding -- even very small amounts of water.As flood waters recede be sure to drain, overturn, or empty areas -- no matter how small -- to reduce mosquito breeding areas and help reduce the spread of mosquito-borne diseases.