Malaysia all set for major floods to hit

File photo of a flood which hit Pangkalan Nelayan Kampung Tok Muda in Selangor, Malaysia, earlier in October.
PHOTO: NSTP

KUALA LUMPUR: Major floods are about to hit the east coast prompting emergency agencies to prepare for the worst.

Pahang, Kelantan and Terengganu will bear the brunt of the lashing north-east monsoon season in mid-November.

But the agencies are planning to be on top of things this time around.

Residents will be evacuated before the flood waters rise to dangerous levels.

The Civil Defence Force will act as secretariat to oversee flood relief operations.

Also gearing up are the police, Welfare Department and Fire and Rescue Department, besides the other relevant bodies.

The Pahang Meteorological Department warned of exceptional high tides on Nov 14 and Dec 14, with a total of 385 areas in the states being prepared for floods.

A total of 107 forward bases will have food stockpile for up to three days beginning Nov 7.

A department spokesman said early warnings would be issued 48 hours in advance.

"We expect rainfall from the second week of November with heavy rains from December to January, next year. If there is continuous rainfall, massive floods are likely,'' he said.

Should a major flood occur, parts of the East Coast Highway (near the Temerloh rest area) and Jalan Ubai in Pekan will be cut off.

Mudflows are also expected in Bukit Goh, Bukit Satelit in Beserah and several bauxite mining areas in Kuantan.

A total of 118 locations in Pahang have been identified as possible landslide areas, with Maran being the most exposed.

In addition, 666 temporary relief centres to house 165,650 flood victims have been identified, and the centres will be increased if the situation worsens.

Leave for flood rescue personnel have been frozen for three months beginning Nov 15.

Pahang Crisis Relief Squad of MCA (CRSM) chief Datuk Chang Hong Seong said all its members were on standby.

"We will assist in distributing aid and help in evacuation efforts. Most of our members have received training and have the experience of dealing with major floods,'' he added.

Kelantan Civil Defence director Lt Kol Zainuddin Hussin said via telephone from Kota Baru: "Everything is in place and we are all ready.

"Flood drills have been conducted many times and canned food, water and blankets have been stocked up."

Lt Kol Zainuddin urged residents in affected areas to give their full co-operation to rescue teams.

"We have to act before the situation gets worse," he added.

Terengganu Civil Defence director Lt Kol Che Adam A. Rahman said community leaders at flood-prone areas were also ready.

"We conducted flood simulation exercises for them, teaching them how to react and where to go to in case of floods," he said, adding that 500 places, including schools and community halls, had been registered as flood evacuation centres.

Terengganu CRSM chief Datuk Lua Choon Hann said its branches in the east coast states had been activated.

"We are maintaining close contact with the relevant agencies, including the National Security Council and Welfare Department," he added.

Lua said the squad was updating its database on logistics and equipment support.

Natural Disaster Management Agency deputy chairman Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim said flood victims would be evacuated before the situation got dangerous.

"This way, we can cut down on the need to use boats for evacuation," he said.

"The boats can be used to distribute aid instead.''