Malaysia: All set for major floods to hit

BEH YUEN HUI, SIMON KHOO, andS IRA HABIBU The Star 31 Oct 16;

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 cooperation 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.’’


Perak better prepared than ever for monsoon season floods
NABILAH HAMUDIN New Straits Times 1 Nov 16;

IPOH: About 1,178 firemen in Perak are on standby for the year-end monsoon season.

Perak Fire and Rescue Department assistant director (operations) Hasrin Hasbi said the department has enhanced its logistics capabilities with new vehicles to assist the public in the event of a disaster.

"We have a new vehicle to be used for the coming rainy season called the Amphibious All-Terrain Vehicle (AATV), which operates in both water and on land.

"All our equipment and assets are checked daily during (drills).

The number of personnel is sufficient to aid victims during a flood “We have gone through this before and we are now better prepared,” he said, adding that 640 personal floating devices will also be allocated for the state.

Hasrin said the department conducted special training for firemen at Tasik Banding on two occasions to increase their confidence level.

"We wanted to familiarise them with emergency situations, and the training sessions were tailored to be as close to the real situation as possible.

During the training, the firemen has to cross to Pulau Pangkor from Tasik Banding along the Sungai Perak," he said, adding that the training was conducted for the scuba diving team.

Hasrin stated that the department has identified high-risk areas for floods, namely, Teluk Intan, Pantai Remis, Sitiawan, Bagan Datoh, Bagan Serai, Bukit Merah, Alor Pongsu, Gerik, Lenggong and Taiping. Perak Civil Defence Force (APM) director Colonel Mohd Noor Hassan Ashari said it has 800 personnel ready to be deployed during floods.

"We have been well prepared since August, when the high-tide phenomenon hit the state in Sept and Nov," he said, adding that the identified coastal hotspots were Kerian, Larut, Matang, Selama, Perak Tengah, Hilir Perak and Bagan Datoh.

The authorities here have been improving their readiness since the 2014 flood, which was one of the worst to ever hit the state.


Effects of La Nina to occur in coming months
The Star 31 Oct 16;

PETALING JAYA: Heavy rains are set to hit the east coast but Perlis, Kedah, Penang and northern Perak are expected to receive lower than normal rainfall between December and January next year.

The Meteorological Department said the north-east monsoon will arrive some time in November.

In Sarawak, normal rainfall of between 300mm and 450mm is expected to fall until the end of the year.

Between January to February 2017, Kapit and Belaga are expected to receive slightly below normal rainfall. The other areas are expected to receive the normal rainfall.

For Sabah, most parts are expected to receive normal rainfall until January 2017, while Kudat and Sandakan will receive below normal rainfall from February to March 2017.

A weak or neutral La Nina is expected to occur until early next year.

La Nina leads to a cooling of seawater and often takes place after El Nino.

Both situations lead to unusually heavy rainfall in some parts of the world and drought elsewhere.

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