Johor, Pahang prepare for rainy season

JOHOR BARU - A total of 649 evacuation centres, which can accommodate 170,000 people, in 10 districts have been set up for flash-flood victims in the state.

Johor Baru Social Welfare Department officer Manayi Ibrahim said it had asked for volunteers to help out its personnel in the event of the floods occurring.

"Volunteers have to undergo a three-day course.

"The response has not been encouraging. However, we have about 150. These volunteers will help with transportation and supplying food to victims.

"The flood-prone areas in Johor Baru include Taman Selesa Jaya, Kampung Melayu in Gelang Patah, Kampung Puah in Taman Perling and Taman Plentong."

The Johor Civil Defence Department has about 1,000 personnel, including volunteers, to help out in floods.

Its deputy director, Mohd Zulkhairi Shamsudin, said its staff would give priority to pregnant women, the elderly and children in a rescue operation.

He said the flood-prone areas included Batu Pahat, Muar and Kota Tinggi while the rivers were Sungai Skudai and Sungai Tebrau, both here, Sungai Muar (Muar) Sungai Sedili (Kota Tinggi), Sungai Benut (Pontian) and Sungai Endau (Endau).

In Kuantan, agencies in the state are ready to face the annual floods after the northeast monsoon season starts from Saturday to March.

According to the Meteorological Department, during this season, the east coast states in the peninsula, coastal areas of Sarawak and east coast of Sabah will experience four or five episodes of heavy rains that may continue for three to seven days and cause floods.

State National Security Council acting secretary Azlan Che Adnan said 572 flood relief centres in the state had been identified and they could accommodate 127,000 evacuees.

"We will also check more premises that could be turned into relief centres, as a preparation if the flooding is worse this time around."

He said the agencies involved had sent food and essential items to forward bases, including in remote areas such as Hulu Tembeling and Pulau Tioman.

He said the Public Works Department had prepared lorries and boats in low-lying stretches that might be cut off by flood waters.

"District police chiefs and district officers have also made preparations to ensure that flood victims can be evacuated swiftly."

The state Fire and Rescue director Datuk Abdul Wahab Mat Yasin said 995 full-time staff and 109 vehicles were on standby for floods and other disasters.

They would be assisted by 1,700 fire-fighting volunteers, he added.