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Floods in west M'sia worsen

Publication Date : 05-12-2013


The floods have worsened in the west Malaysian states of Johor, Pahang, Terengganu and Kelantan, with no quick reprieve in sight due to the high tide and rough seas, warned the meteorological department.

Insufficient drainage infrastructure is compounding the situation, according to the drainage and irrigation department.

Pahang is the worst hit, with almost 20,000 people evacuated to 73 relief centres in five districts as of 5pm on Wednesday. A spokesman of the state flood operations centre said Kuantan alone had more than 12,000 people at 46 relief centres.

Water and electricity supplies were cut off in most areas in Kuantan on Wednesday after several substations were hit by floods and roads in the city were inundated by up to 1m of water.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Shahidan Kassim, who is in charge of the National Security Council, told Parliament that rescue operations went into full swing on Tuesday.

“A helicopter was dispatched to Kuantan to help in operations and I will be heading there myself later today (Wednesday),” he said.

Although rainfall is expected to lessen in the four states, the National Weather Forecast Centre of the meteorological department said on Wednesday it would take a few days for the flood waters to subside as the tide was now at its peak of about 4.5m high.

Its director Muhammad Helmi Abdullah added: “We do not expect the floods to get worse but they will take some time to subside – at least another two or three days.”

On Tuesday, the meteorological department issued a "Level 2 orange" warning for five areas in Pahang and Terengganu due to heavy rains.

On Wednesday, the orange warning was extended to eight towns in three states – Kuantan, Rompin, Pekan and Maran (in Pahang), Dungun, Kemaman and Hulu Terengganu (Terengganu) and Kuala Krai (Kelantan).

The yellow warning, which is a weather alert to make people aware of the situation and take preventive action, was issued to 17 other areas, including Hulu Perak on the west coast.

The orange status is to warn those in affected areas to prepare to act if the situation worsens while the red status, which is the highest alert, is a warning for severe weather and to take immediate action.

These warnings, issued by the meteorological department, are only based on the rainfall pattern and not on the level of flooding.

Although Johor is still seeing worsening floods, the orange alert for the state has been lifted as rainfall has lessened.

The DID’s river basin and coastal management division director Lim Chow Hock said uncontrolled land clearing and rapid development were the reasons the floods seemed to be getting worse every year.

“The land cleared for housing and commercial purposes increases every year. Unfortunately, the development of drainage infrastructure is not able to keep up to that pace,” he said.


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