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Public health & wellbeing > Disaster management

Storms, cyclones and flood

Significant cyclonic activity, storms and flooding occur in many areas of Queensland. Queensland Health has developed the following information and advice to ensure Queenslanders stay safe and healthy as we prepare for, and recover from, these natural events.

Stay safe and healthy during cleanup

Following the initial damage to property and infrastructure, flood water that has receded can still cause sickness, injury and death. The main health risks while in storm or flood-affected areas include:

Learn more about staying safe during the clean-up period:

Preventing illness from water

During and after storms, cyclones and flooding, drinking water may be contaminated. Your local council will advise if you need to take precautions before drinking water in your area.

If you are concerned that your water may be contaminated, treat it before drinking. Conserve treated water and use it for drinking, preparing food and personal hygiene only.

For more information on safe drinking water, refer to:

Preventing illness from food

When cyclones, storms and floods occur, power failures are likely to happen and the food in your fridge may be unsafe to eat.

Action to take:

For more information on food safety, read:

Preventing illness from mosquitos and black flies

Receding flood waters and pooling water from heavy rainfall can provide perfect conditions for mosquito breeding. This can result in more mosquitoes, increasing the potential for outbreaks of mosquito-borne diseases.

For more information on how to prevent illnesses from mosquitoes, read:

Black flies are aggressive biters that are found in areas around streams and rivers. While they do not transmit disease, allergic reactions and bacterial skin infections may occur from scratching the bites. The number of black flies can increase following a flood or heaving rain, particularly in inland areas.

For more information on black flies, read:


During disaster situations, medicines, including drugs and poisons stored in homes, may be affected by flood waters. This may make them unsafe and extreme caution should be taken in trying to salvage any medicines that are potentially flood affected.

It may also be more difficult to access essential medicines due to isolation, financial hardship or lost prescriptions and health care cards.

For more information, read:

Emergency response workers

The main health risks for emergency responders are injury (including falls and snake bites), superficial skin infections, sunburn, heat stress and in the following weeks, mosquito-borne infections.

For more information on staying safe and healthy as an emergency response worker, read:

Coping in a crisis

To find out more about Coping in a crisis.

Go to Toptop of page

Last Updated: 28 April 2014
Last Reviewed: 28 April 2014

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