Sunday, December 15

Government ready for extreme floods expected next month — Shahidan


Shahidan (third left) waves to the camera while testing out the new APM amphibious Sealegs flood rescue boat with Uggah (second left), Fatimah (second right), Jaul (third right), and Abdul Rashid (left). — Photo by Muhammad Rais Sanusi

KUCHING: The government is ready to tackle extreme floods that are expected to occur throughout the country by next month.

According to Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim, all State Disaster Management Committees (SDMC) and Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) nationwide will be on standby to deal with flooding at flood-prone and non flood-prone areas.

“Based on the forecast given by the Meteorological Department, we can expect several heavy rainfall episodes in November and we will make an announcement on this from time to time.

“This is because our weather now is quite unpredictable but nevertheless, we will gear up and be ready to tackle the possibility of flooding at both flood-prone and non-flood prone areas,” he told a press conference after officiating the National Preparedness Month (‘Bulan Kesiapsiagaan Nasional’) at Kuching Waterfront here yesterday.

Shahidan also called on all rescue teams throughout the country to be ready to be deployed to areas frequently flooded without waiting for emergency calls from the people.

Shahidan (third right) activating the manually operated alarm siren to symbolically launch the National Preparedness Month, witnessed by Uggah (fifth left), Fatimah (right), Rosey (fourth left), Jaul (third left), Abdul Rashid (second right) and others. — Photos by Muhammad Rais Sanusi

“The management of disasters have to be carried out systematically where the rescue teams ought to be ‘waiting’ at areas where disasters such as flood often occur.

“This will facilitate emergency regulation particularly in terms of the evacuation process for the victims,” he advised. He opined that with experience in disaster management particularly floods, the SDMC and rescue teams will be able to gauge the estimated period when flood occurs and also which areas are at high risk.

“The movement of the rescue teams should be organised early including the placement of their respective logistic assets as well as providing a front-line near evacuation centres to facilitate the delivery of food rations,” he remarked.

Earlier in his speech, Shahidan said the government had taken proactive steps to focus on capacity building of three target groups; namely government agencies, communities which are exposed to disasters, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and the private sector so that they will be more sensitive to risk and disaster hazards.

“The federal government will also continuously assist the state government in improving the preparedness towards disasters by emphasising on safety aspects as well as to provide assistance in terms of the acquisition of disaster relief assets.

“For Sarawak, we have also sent eight five-tonne trucks and two amphibious sealeg flood rescue boats and today (yesterday) another amphibious flood rescue boat will be handed over,” he said.

Uggah receiving the mock cheque of RM450,000 from Petronas Sarawak Regional Office general manager Shamsur Taha, witnessed by Shahidan (fourth left), Fatimah (fourth right), Penguang (second right), Rosey (third right) and others.

At the launch, Shahidan was on hand to present the Civil Defence Force (APM) honorary rank of deputy honorary commissioner to Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, who is also SDMC Sarawak chairman.

He also presented the APM honorary rank of assistant honorary commissioner and honorary colonel to Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister Dato Sri Fatimah Abdulah and Deputy State Secretary (Rural Transformation) Datu Jaul Samion respectively.

Themed ‘Building Strong Communities’, this year’s National Preparedness Month also witnessed the handing over of RM450,000 from Petronas to SDMC Sarawak which will go towards the purchase of 15 units of portable fire fighting pumps for 15 CERT teams across the state.

Also present were 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.

A Royal Malaysian Air Force (TUDM) helicopter hovers over a floating board while carrying out a winching operation to rescue a ‘flood victim’ during a demonstration carried out at Kuching Waterfront in conjunction with the National Preparedness Month.