Malaysia: El Nino bearing down on Malaysians

The Star 13 Apr 16;

PETALING JAYA: More Malaysians are falling sick over the past few months due to the hot and dry weather brought on by the El Nino phenomenon.

Even some of those who recovered after taking medication claimed that they fell sick again in just a matter of days because of the heatwave.

Ann Marshall, 43, said when she felt the first signs of fever, cough and flu two weeks ago, she had gone to the doctor immediately.

“I was diagnosed with bronchitis and this is the first time I am experiencing this. I am also having difficulty breathing.

“I was taking more iced drinks to cool down in the hot weather and the difference between the heat outside and the air-conditioned office environment made things worse,” she said here yesterday.

Marshall, who is a secretary with an aviation company in Damansara, said she had taken a full dose of antibiotics, along with six other medications to recover.

However, she fell sick again within 24 hours of her recovery, but this time she refused to take more medication.

“I’m taking natural supplements which I also find helpful and I’m drinking a lot of water to help with the heat,” she said.

Lawyer Gowri Chandran, 27, was among the increasing number of Malaysians who had shown signs of fever, cough and flu in the past few weeks.

“I was down with fever for more than four days and I’m still coughing,” she said.

The National Disaster Management Agency (Nadma) said it was prepared to carry out cloud seeding exercises over several northern states, including Perlis, Pahang, Kedah as well as Sabah and Sarawak.

Its director-general Datuk Zaitun Ab Samad said the full details would be determined by a Workgroup Meeting on Tackling the Hot and Dry Weather to be chaired by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim later.

“We have yet to get the full details but I believe we will conduct operations in areas that are facing water shortage,” she said.

She said the cloud seeding operations would be jointly carried out by the air force and the Meteorological Department and coordinated by Nadma following the Cabinet’s approval.

“It is not a full blown crisis but we are prepared to carry it out in certain areas.

“Many states still have enough water in their dams,” she said.

As at 4.30pm yesterday, the levels at Bukit Merah, Perak, and Bukit Kwong, Kelantan, recorded below the 50% storage level.

Water rationing for Perlis if no rainfall in next four days
MELISSA DARLYNE CHOW New Straits Times 12 Apr 16;

KANGAR: Perlis is not ruling out the possibility of carrying out water rationing in the state, should there not be rainfall over the next four days.

Perlis Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Azlan Man ‎said the move may be necessary if the water level at Timah Tasoh Dam drops further to 26.2 metres.

The water level at the dam presently stands at 26.29 metres, and based on the current temperature, the dam is losing about 0.02 metres daily.

"Based on the current situation, if rain still does not fall in the next four days, we will have to carry out water rationing.

"Further details such as the areas which will be affected will be discussed with the National Security Council," he told reporters on the sidelines of the state assembly sitting today.

He expressed hope there would be rainfall, based on the cloud seeding exercise to be undertaken for a week starting today.

Water trickles in for Banggi folk
The Star 13 Apr 16;

KOTA KINABALU: Pulau Banggi remains dry as critical water supplies trickled into Malaysia’s largest island.

In a ceremony yesterday, Banggi assemblyman Datuk Abdul Mijul Unaini distributed bottled water to islanders who have been begging for help for the last two weeks.

Some 1,300 boxes of bottled water were sent in on Monday while 30,000 litres of potable treated water were brought in by the state Water Department by boat for hospitals and other critically affected areas.

The treated water is also currently being pumped into water tanks at the Karakit Banggis main settlement.

However, the move to have a special ceremony was criticised by state minister Datuk Masidi Manjun in a tweet, who urged the local assemblyman not to waste time with ceremonies.

“YBs are elected to serve the people, especially their constituents unconditionally. Unnecessary protocol and ceremonies should be set aside”, he said.

Mijul when contacted said there was no ceremony but a briefing to all the chairmen of the village security and development committees on how the bottled water should be distributed.

“We don’t want any problems, why should there be any ceremony? This is a dry spell and we want to give help as soon as possible,” he said.

He said they were focusing on giving water to villagers in Kampung Singgahmata, Kampung Perpaduan Karakit, Kampung Log Tohog and Kampung Kobong as well as the hospital and some schools first.

Although villagers across Banggi said that their traditional water sources from wells and streams had dried up, assistant district officer for Banggi Awang Shahrin Awang Bakar said only 75% of the 25,000 population were seriously affected by the dry spell.

“Water supply will also be given to those less affected if there is extra,” he said.

Since last weekend, most areas in Sabah, including northern Kudat and Pitas, experienced heavy rain that brought some relief to the three-month dry spell.

Cloud seeding underway in the north
The Star 13 Apr 16;

GEORGE TOWN: The Malaysian Meteorolo­gical Department has started cloud seeding in the peninsula’s northern region.

A department spokesman said the operation began yesterday, with a plane taking off from the Penang International Airport in Bayan Lepas, as the team from the department was based there.

“The operation will go on for a week and cover four northern states, namely Penang, Perak, Kedah and Perlis. It will focus mainly on areas with agricultural activities.

“The most suitable time to conduct cloud seeding is between noon and 3pm, but it also depends on the atmosphere and the presence of suitable clouds,” she said.

Those staying in the northern region have been putting up with the heatwave for a month.

They are hoping for the seasonal heavy rains to come soon and provide some cool respite.

Cloud seeding exercise to start today in Perlis, Pahang & Kedah
FAZLEENA AZIZ New Straits Times 12 Apr 16;

PUTRAJAYA: The National Disaster Management Agency (Nadma) will be carrying out large scale cloud seeding exercises in Perlis, Pahang and Kedah starting today onwards.

Nadma director-general Datuk Zaitun Ab Samah said details of the exercise would be determined following the Workgroup Meeting on Tackling the Hot and Dry Weather chaired by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim today.

She said the Cabinet had approved the exercise by the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) following the increase in hot temperatures.

“Prior to this the cloud seeding exercise was carried out by National Security Council (NSC), now it will come under Nadma, who will determine based on the necessity and frequency.

“So far, the Meteorological Department has carried out smaller scale cloud seeding exercise through private companies in several areas.

“The cost of each cloud seeding exercise is about RM80,000, and this will be borne by Nadma,” she said, adding the budget for the total exercise would be determined later.

Schools in Temerloh and Jerantut to reopen tomorrow as heat wave abates
T.N.ALAGESH New Straits Times 12 Apr 16;

KUANTAN: All 155 schools in Temerloh and Jerantut will reopen tomorrow as temperatures recorded over the past 24-hours were below 36 degrees celsius in the affected areas.

State Education director Datuk Rosdi Ismail said the 117 primary schools and 38 secondary schools in the two districts would resume classes after being closed for two days.

He said the school’s administration had been reminded to take precautionary measures including cancelling all outdoor activities until further notice.

"Lessons will continue normally in classrooms but outdoor activities are still suspended.

We will monitor the situation," he said.

On Monday, the Education Ministry ordered all schools in the two districts to be closed for a day after temperature readings exceeded 37 degrees celsius due to the El Nino phenomenon.

The department ordered the schools to remain close today due to continuous extreme hot weather.

There are 50,492 students in Temerloh and Jerantut.

Construction worker in Langkawi suffers heat cramps due to heat wave
MASRIWANIE MUHAMADING New Straits Times 13 Apr 16;

ALOR STAR: A Thai national who was working at a construction site in Langkawi fainted due to heatstroke after working for about four hours under the scorching sun yesterday.

State Health director Datuk Dr Norhizan Ismail who confirmed the incident said that the 46-year-old is currently still receiving treatment at the Langkawi Hospital. ‎

"It was learnt that the man had been working continuously under the scorching heat at a construction site in Langkawi for about four hours when the incident took place.

"During the 3pm incident, his colleague noticed that he experienced muscle cramps on both his hands and rushed him to the Langkawi Hospital. "He however became unconscious as soon as they arrived and was immediately given treatment by the hospital's Emergency Unit.

During that time his body temperature rose to 42 degrees Celsius," he said.

According to Dr Norhizan, the worker's body temperature reduced to 39.7 degree Celsius after about an hour.

"With the recent incident in Langkawi, there are so far a total of 18 heatwave-related cases reported in the state. The first incident took place on March 2.

"From the total 18 cases, three of the cases involved heat cramps, 14 cases involved heat exhaustion and one heatstroke.

"Among the victims, seven were students, which include one case that took place in school with the other seven outside school hours.

"Two of the cases reported also involved children aged three and five, one case involved an 81-year-old senior citizen and the remaining eight cases involved those between 20 and 51," he said.

Dr Norhizan also said that six of the victims were warded while 12 only received outpatient treatment.

Dr Norhizan advised the public to follow the health tips given by the state Health Department in order to prevent any health issues due to the heatwave, which can lead to death, should they delay in seeking medical attention.

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