Saturday, October 24

Rescue 999 on disaster standby

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KUCHING: The Civil Defence’s Rescue 999 unit has been on standby for any eventuality such as floods since early December last year.“We are well-prepared,” said its Kuching public defence officer Ahmad Shahfikri yesterday.

He said Rescue 999 opened its Flood Relief Operation Room since Dec 1, 2009 as part of its flood preparation.

“We have been ordered to stand by as early as Dec 1 last year. No officer or staff is allowed to take leave until further notice,” he said.

He pointed out that the department has yet to receive any report on floods.

“Our focus is more on training. We also brief flood-prone villages in Bau and Padawan,” he said.

The briefing is for villagers to be better prepared in the event of flooding.

“Another risk during the raining season is landslide. Members of the public can contact our Operation Room (082-252940) anytime,” he said.

Meanwhile, Kuching Resident Liew Jiu Ming said the Resident’s Office had divided Kuching division into 16 zones based on flood risk.

The restructuring of zones could enable better cooperation between the Resident’s Office and other government agencies such as Welfare Department, Police Department and People’s Vigilant Crops (Rela).

“The different zones have been drawn up since end of last year. In every zone, we have a team led by an officer from the Resident’s Office who would collaborate with the agencies. The team leader would also be responsible for monitoring the situation during floods,” he explained.

He said with the restructuring of the zone, more personnel from government agencies could be directly involved in the flood operation.

Such zone restructuring was important so all parties could deal with any situation resulting from the floods, Liew said.

“Although the current weather is fine according to the forecast from the Meteorological Services Department, we still have to be on alert. What we are worrying now is possible floods during the Chinese New Year,” he said.

Evacuation centres have been identified as well, Liew said.

Samarahan Resident Rodziah Bujang said the office had briefed the head of villages on how to deal with natural disasters.

It had cleaned drains and culverts in preparation for the flood.