Malaysia Floods: New landfills to dispose post flood rubbish

AUDREY DERMAWAN New Straits Times 12 Jan 15;

KUALA KANGSAR: A whopping 200,000 tonnes of rubbish have been collected from flood affected states nationwide to date.

Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan said the figure may double when the post-floods operation wrapped up.

"There are still areas which are flooded and we have yet to begin the clean-up operations.

"Once that is done, we can expect the amount of rubbish to reach until 400,000 tonnes," he told reporters after visiting Arena Square, one of the areas affected by the recent floods.

Abdul Rahman said the ministry was also facing great challenges to dispose the rubbish as some of the landfills were also damaged in the floods.

"We have built three landfills in Temerloh, Pahang.

"If other states feel there is a need to build such a landfill, they can do so," he added.

Flood waste up to 200,000 tonnes
The Star 13 Jan 15;

KUALA KANGSAR: Trash and debris collected from the floods that ravaged parts of the country have reached a staggering 200,000 tonnes.

And authorities are not quite finished yet as there are places still submerged under water.

Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan estimated that the final count might climb up to between 300,000 and 400,000 tonnes.

“This is going to be particularly challenging for the ministry and local authorities because many landfills have been rendered unusable by floodwaters.

“We will have to look into the opening of temporary landfills to accommodate this much waste just as we did recently in Temerloh,” he told reporters here yesterday.

Based on an early estimation, Abdul Rahman said total repair and cleaning costs for public infrastructure and common areas would come up to around RM100mil.

“Seeing the extent of the damage in flood-ravaged areas, I would not be surprised if the cost would perhaps even reach RM200mil and this is excluding private homes,” he added.

Since Kuala Kangsar, the royal town, was expected to host the coronation of Sultan of Perak Sultan Nazrin Shah in a few months, Abdul Rahman said it would prioritise the infrastructure involved in the ceremony for remedial works.

Relief centres to have solar panels and rainwater systems
The Star 13 Jan 15;

JOHOR BARU: Flood evacuation centres will be equipped with solar power panels and rainwater harvesting systems, said Deputy Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid.

He said the centres would have constant supply of power and water when people take refuge there during major floods.

“The recent major floods in the east coast states has taught us to look at alternative ways of supplying power and water to victims at relief centres.

“There is no time frame for us to implement these measures, but we will ensure that this proposal will be carried out,” he said after launching the operation of a solar power panel system at Masjid Jamek Bandar Baru Uda here yesterday.

Mahdzir said that in the event of major floods, Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) would usually cut off power supply at its sub-stations for safety measures.

“Water supply pumps will stop functioning at treatment plants, and this disrupts the water supply at the evacuation centres,” he said, adding that the solar panels and rainwater harvesting system installed at flood evacuation centres would help to provide the needed water and power for the people.

During the major floods in Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang, floods victims were cut off from the outside world as they could not contact their family members on their mobile phones as there was no power supply to charge them.

Meanwhile, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) said it will send a mobile testing laboratory to Kelantan to help ensure clean water supply and prevent disease outbreaks.

UTM’s Institute of Environment, Water Resources Management deputy director Prof Dr Mohd Razman Salim, claimed that most of Kelantan’s wells were currently polluted by waste water.

He said the mobile laboratory would head for Kuala Krai and Gua Musang this week.

“These two Kelantan districts were among the worst hit,” he said.

The laboratory can measure levels of metal and organic elements in water, as well as foreign particles and bacterial content.

“The mobile lab could provide results within two to three hours, compared to having to send the samples back to the university’s laboratory,” Mohd Razman said in a press conference on Sunday.

Getting villagers to help themselves during floods
The Star 13 Jan 15;

KUALA LUMPUR: Communities from nine flood-prone villages in three states will soon be trained to become disaster-resilient under a Red Crescent Society (MRCS) programme.

MRCS’s Dr S. Selva Jothi said the society would introduce “Adoption of Village” programme to ensure that if these villages were to suffer disasters again, people there would be able to help themselves.

“The programme is to adopt the village (to the floods) and train them to be safe and resilient,” the MRCS national organisational development committee chairman said yesterday.

This, he said, meant that such villages would be able to deal with health and water safety risks, and also have early disaster warning systems.

Villages would also adopt a “culture of coping with crisis”, taking hygiene sanitation into account and making sure that local economies were resilient in such events.

He said of the nine villages to be chosen, four were in Kelantan, three were in Terengganu and two were in Pahang.

One Kelantan village, Kampung Pasir Tumbok, has thus far been earmarked for this programme, he said, adding that it was currently going through a second phase of assessments.

Another eight, he said, were in the pipeline with some villages being assessed.

He expected that this sort of training to take at least a year per village (two years at the most), with a total cost of RM5mil.

Some RM3.2mil, he said, donated from sponsors and others had been collected so far for this purpose.

He added that MRCS would not be in charge of physically rebuilding the village itself, adding that it would either be left to locals or contractors.

Dr Selva said it started with an Orang Asli village in Johor known as Kampung Peta that had been destroyed by floods there in 2006.

He said that MRCS trained people there in disaster preparedness, so much so that they became experts of it, going to even Kedah to help out when floods struck there in 2009.

Over 200,000 people in Malaysia became refugees when floods swept through Malaysia’s East Coast, with some villages completely destroyed by the waters.

In a related matter, MRCS national chairman Tunku Tan Sri Shahriman Tunku Sulaiman thanked The Star and Firefly for working with the society to collect flood relief donations.