Why is it so difficult to declare State of Emergency in flood-hit areas?

– Lokman Mustafa
The Malaysian Insider
25 December 2014

What are the prerequisites for the proclamation of a State of Emergency to be made in an area severely hit by natural disaster?

To my knowledge, such a proclamation is a formal step for local officials to receive assistance from the federal administration.

In the US, a state of emergency is issued when a disaster occurs that requires State aid to help alleviate damages.

The declaration also enables the governor of a state to make resources immediately available to rescue, evacuate and provide basic needs in affected areas.

Although the state of emergency declaration does not restrict citizen movements or activities, access to affected areas may be limited due to concerns for public safety.

The declaration is revoked when support is no longer needed for the affected areas.

In Misissippi US, Governor Phil Bryant issued a state of emergency on December 23 for two counties badly hit by tornado.

In an update on his official webpage www.governorbryant.com, Bryant said a state of emergency would authorise the use of additional state resources in storm response efforts.

On Tuesday (December 23), there were reports of damage to both homes and businesses in Marion County hit by a tornado, leaving some 6,300 people without electricity.

Over in California, two weeks of heavy rain and strong wind have resulted in floods, mudslides and evacuations, prompting Gov. Jerry Brown to issue a State of Emergency in four counties on December 22.

The storm had caused mudslides that left 10 Camarillo Springs homes uninhabitable.

Barisan Nasional MP from Ketereh Tan Sri Annuar Musa, on the other hand, is urging the National Security Council (MKN) to immediately declare a state of emergency in flood-hit areas in Kelantan.

Annuar has also asked for the armed forces to be more involved in providing aid to flood victims, especially in Ulu Kelantan.

“MAJLIS KESELAMATAN PLS ACT FAST AND DECLARE STATE OF DHARURAT (Emergency),” Annuar wrote on his Facebook page.

State Security Council secretary Azhar Mohamad Yusuf, however, said Kelantan would not be declared in a State of Emergency for now.

In addition, Kelantan Umno liaison chief Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed was reported as saying that although the situation was getting worse, the need to proclaim an emergency had not arisen.

In an report published by The Malaysian Insider, Mustapa explained the federal government was amplifying its efforts in helping flood victims.

Helicopters, as well as boats, have been deployed by Polis DiRaja Malaysia (PDRM), Armed Forces and the Fire Department to send essential commodities to areas cut off due to flood water, as well as landslide.

“Although certain parties, including the people of Kuala Krai (Kelantan), have urged for emergency to be declared, at the moment things are under control,” Mustapa said.

In addition, only Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has the power to make such a declaration with the advice from MKN.

What does Mustapa mean by “under control”? Why is it so difficult to declare a State of Emergency in Ulu Kelantan?

As of December 24, Bernama reported a total of 58,705 flood victims have been evacuated.

Kelantan has the most number of evacuees with 24,765, followed by Terengganu (21,606), Pahang (10,825), Perak (1,030), Sabah (336) and Perlis (143).

In denying rumour that an emergency has been declared, Kelantan police chief Datuk Mazlan Lazim also stressed that the flood situation in the state “is under control”, whatever that means. – December 25, 2014.

  1. #1 by Noble House on Friday, 26 December 2014 - 4:44 am

    And we read one of the most idiotic statements by none other than the Deputy MB Nik Mohamad Abduh who said: “The floods were intended to remind Muslims to return to Allah’s path, and it necessitates the perseverance of the Kelantan government to implement hudud laws.”

    More than 90,000 evacuees are being affected and suffering, and this was all he had to say. Seriously, how much more confused and lost can one really get?

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