M’sia braces itself for onset of floods, storm

By Asia News Network

While the Philippines and Vietnam are recovering from the devastation of super typhoon Haiyan, Malaysia is bracing itself for the onset of the annual year-end floods and storms.

About 57,000 personnel from the Fire and Rescue Department, Civil Defence Department, police and military have been put on alert while resources that can cater to up to 1.3 million flood evacuees have been set aside throughout the country, said the National Security Council.

“All preparations are being coordinated by the National Disaster and Relief Management Committee and these have been discussed at state level,” council secretary Mohamed Thajudeen Abdul Wahab said in a statement to The Star.

The meteorological department has advised five states to prepare for widespread heavy rains during the northeast monsoon, which can cause flooding especially at the river basins.

The five states are Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang, Sabah and Sarawak. The department said the southern parts of Johor could also be affected.

Thajudeen said that 1,910 lorries, 2,097 four-wheel-drive vehicles, 2,051 boats, 152 jetskis and 26 helicopters have been readied for the floods.

He added that the health ministry had set up 1,472 medical teams while the social welfare department was preparing to open up to 4,969 evacuation centres that could accommodate 1.3 million people.

“We also welcome any aid from non-governmental organisations such as emergency equipment, food, financial assistance and manpower,” Thajudeen said, adding that groups interested in helping out can contact their respective state disaster operation centres.

In a statement, the meteorological department said the east coast states of peninsular Malaysia, coastal areas of Sarawak and east coast of Sabah will experience four to five episodes of widespread heavy rains that may continue for three to seven days.

“This can cause floods in the east coast states and the southern region of the peninsula from this month to January.

“Similar conditions will occur in the western and central parts of Sarawak from next month to February, and also the east coast of Sabah in January and February,” the department said.

The monsoon in Malaysia began on November 1 and is expected to last until the third week of March next year.

The first episode of heavy rains has been forecast for any time now.

“The northern peninsula could see increased rainfall due to moderate winds in the early stages of the monsoon. In contrast, areas like southern and eastern Pahang and southern and eastern Johor may experience rainfall below normal levels this month.

“Rainfall is also expected to increase in areas in Sabah (East Malaysia) like Kudat, Pantai Barat and Pedalaman this month,” the department said.

On whether the recent Typhoon Haiyan would have any impact on the local weather, the department said it was possible that any tropical storm system near Malaysia during this season could affect the weather, especially in coastal areas.

While the monsoon this time round is expected to be normal, each occurrence of heavy rainfall can cause flooding, the department said.

The public can obtain information on the weather and sea conditions and flood warnings via www.met.gov.my, portalbencana.mkn.gov.my/Portal/ or publicinfobanjir.water.gov.my/

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