KUCHING: The state government has made allocation for the purchase of drones as well as preparation for HF/VHF (high frequency/very high frequency) communication facilities to address disasters such as flood in the state.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg, who stated this, said the drones will be able to facilitate early studies at disaster affected areas particularly if the area concerned cannot be accessed by land transport while HF/VHF communication facilities will establish an alternative communication network in the event of a disaster.
“Apart from that, in order to ensure that disaster relief can be channelled immediately, a state-level Disaster Management Fund has also been established and we hope that the federal government can provide early allocation for this fund before disaster strikes.
“We also need funding assistance in terms of upgrading evacuation centres by providing facilities such as toilets while the Royal Malaysian Police Sarawak contingent is in need of extra equipment such as life jackets, boats, and replacement of outboard engines,” he said in his speech read by Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas at the launch of National Preparedness Month which was officiated by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim at Kuching Waterfront here yesterday.
On a related matter, Abang Johari also expressed his hope that the state government will be able to implement more flood mitigation projects particularly in flood-prone areas.
“Currently, there are several flood mitigation projects which have been carried out in Sarawak such as the barrage system in Kuching, the flood mitigation project in Sibu and the pump gate in Bau and Bengoh Dam.
“The barrage system at Sarawak River has the capability to control the overflow of river during the east monsoon season and extraordinary heavy rainfall as well as to balance the water level thus reducing the risk of flooding,” he explained.
He also pointed out that the state government also realised the importance of preparing the people for times of disaster.
“As such, the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) was established in 2010 to serve as the first responders before the rescue enforcement agencies arrive,” he said, adding that CERT was sponsored by Petronas as part of its corporate social responsibility.
He noted that since 2015, Petronas has collaborated with the State Enforcement and Security Unit under the Chief Minister’s Department, Civil Defence Force (APM), Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba) and Royal Malaysian Police to carry out CERT.
“Thus far, 1,500 have been trained as CERT members under Petronas’ sponsorship and this year, the company has allocated RM1 million to fund the CERT programme throughout Sarawak.”
Also present were Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister Dato Sri Fatimah Abdulah, Deputy State Secretary (Rural Transformation) Datu Jaul Samion, National Disaster Management Agency (Nadma) director general Datuk Abdul Rashid Harun, Assistant Minister of Local Government Datu Dr Penguang Manggil and Assistant Minister of Women, Family and Childhood Development Rosey Yunus.