05 January 2023

Health advice for Kimberley residents during the flood

Residents in the Kimberley region are being urged to stay safe and protect their health following recent major flooding to the area.

WA Health’s Deputy Chief Health Officer Dr Clare Huppatz said there were several measures people could take to minimise the risk of becoming unwell or injured.

“For people impacted by the floods, there are several steps they can take to stay well now and after the flooding has subsided,” Dr Huppatz said.

The following information is available also in Kriol (MP3 1MB).

Advice to stay healthy during the floods includes:

Health dangers of floodwater:

  • Do not enter floodwaters as you risk drowning or being seriously injured.
  • To prevent illness, avoid contact with floodwater – it is dirty and can be mixed with sewage from overflowing toilets and toilet systems.
  • Assume anything touched by floodwater is dirty.
  • Wear closed shoes, especially outdoors, if possible.
    • Wash your hands and affected areas of the body thoroughly with clean warm water and soap or use hand sanitiser, especially before eating.
    • Wash any wounds that come into contact with floodwater as soon as possible with clean water.
    • Cover cuts and abrasions, preferably with waterproof dressings.
    • Remove clothes that are dirty from the floodwater.
    • If possible, wash and dry feet (and footwear) if you have walked in floodwater.

Using water

  • Using mains (tap) water:
    • If you are in a flood affected area, your water provider will let you know if the tap water is unsafe to use and will issue a Boil Water notice.
    • You can also check with your water provider or the Department of Health website for a Boil Water notice
    • You can ask your local Shire or environmental health officer if the water is safe to use.

Using tank water:

  • Water in rainwater tanks can be contaminated by dirty floodwaters.
  • If there is any risk of contamination do not use water from the rainwater tank for drinking until it can be confirmed to be safe.


  • Mosquito activity is expected to increase. As mosquitoes can carry a range of illnesses, you should protect yourself by using mosquito repellent and cover with long, loose-fitting clothing.

Food and medicine:

  • Throw out any food or medicine that has come into contact with floodwater and might be dirty.
  • If the power goes out, refrigerated food can be used for up to four hours; after this it will have to be thrown out. Frozen foods last for up to 24 hours after the power goes out.
  • If the power goes out for more than four hours contact your medical clinic for advice about any medicines that need to be stored in the fridge.

Cleaning up:

  • Anyone cleaning up in the floodwaters should wear personal protective clothing if available such as rubber boots, rubber gloves and washable or disposable coveralls. There is more health information on what to do after a flood on HealthyWA.

Medical treatment:

  • Contact your doctor or local health centre immediately if you experience any serious illness. If you’re not seriously unwell, but need health advice, call HealthDirect on 1800 552 002.
  • In the event of emergency, call 000.

For more tips and information visit WA Health’s website (healthywa.wa.gov.au).


Media contact: 9222 4333

Follow us on Twitter: @WAHealth