More flooded areas, more evacuees, just less common sense

26 December 2014

If you do go to the Malaysian Meteorological Department website, there will not be any hint that Malaysia is going through its worst flood in decades, with nearly 120,000 people already evacuated in six states.

All it says is either isolated rain, scattered rain, thunderstorms or no rain in any given area in Malaysia. Nothing that would a hint of the incessant torrential rain deluging Malaysia this past week.

In fact, the number of people, equipment, aid and transport being scrambled to assist flood relief efforts will tell you a simple story – Malaysia was again caught unprepared for a disaster that has been likened to the US Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

As it is, the National Security Council’s (NSC) Portal Bencana (Disaster Portal) microsite only tells you of an incidence of flood and the location – nothing else.

Details of weather for the next few days, tides, updated list of relief centres, food dumps, operations rooms and phone numbers are missing.

Any other information is trickling through radio and television channels as media companies scramble to put together lists of volunteers and aid requests for flood victims in the six states of Johor, Kelantan, Pahang, Perak, Perlis and Terengganu.

Yet, where is the disaster management plan to handle the current floods?

Last January, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said Putrajaya would improve four area in handling natural disasters such as floods – early warning system, relief centres, food supply, and assets and logistics.

He also said the NSC would update the standard operating procedure to face extraordinary floods while the Social Welfare Department will look into management of relief centres and raise stocks of food supplies when anticipating floods.

“The National Security Council will study, update and increase disaster management assets at the rescue agencies, such as trucks and boats to evacuate flood victims and the sick as well as despatch food and other necessities to the relief centres,” he had said.

Right. Where are these plans and where are the assets that is taking care of the flood victims now?

There is nothing on the NSC website to suggest this is even happening, or any announcements of the standard operating efforts to alleviate the suffering of the flood victims.

Muhyiddin is in charge and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has cut short his vacation to personally handle the growing and worsening floods.

Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah has announced a RM50 million emergency allocation, even as Malaysians from all walks of life contribute and volunteer to send aid to the flood victims.

Aid workers are frustrated, and as one expert told The Malaysian Insider, the major effort should have started much earlier, particularly detailed information about the high possibility of floods due to weather patterns.

“This time and age give no excuses to be caught unaware – it’s just attitude.

“This will go into history books as the Malaysian Katrina and how we were ill-prepared,” the expert said.

He has a point. Floods are an annual phenomenon, the only issue is how bad it can be.

Yet, the authorities should be able to predict, prepare and inform people that floods are expected, and list out the relief centres and available food stock.

Yet neither those in affected areas or Malaysians elsewhere knew what hit them at the tail-end of one of the worst years in the country’s history.

We need more than a transformation, we need reforms of attitudes and operating procedures.

And we need leaders and officials, from top to bottom, who must always be prepared for disasters and calamities, notwithstanding our fortune of being blessed from the worst of mother nature’s fury.

We need to learn lessons from our annual floods, have some common sense to ensure Malaysia is more than prepared to face this kind of disaster if it happens again.

  1. #1 by worldpress on Friday, 26 December 2014 - 10:48 pm

    If they do not like the laws here, you can tell them to leave for DESERT, don’t mess up our land with their lie, cruelty, and fear.

    • #2 by cemerlang on Saturday, 27 December 2014 - 9:22 am

      Develop the place on higher grounds.

  2. #3 by Noble House on Saturday, 27 December 2014 - 6:13 am

    Malaysia is ill-prepared for any real crisis due to such failures as in contingency planning and the lack of a detailed and tested plan for responding to major disasters. We merely slept through it and when things have gotten worse only than the scramble for answers which is often too little too late. As usual, no one is responsible!

  3. #4 by Sallang on Saturday, 27 December 2014 - 5:03 pm

    When China planned to build the 3 gorges dam across the great Yangtze river, it took the authorities years to educate,encourage, appeal to the pheasants to move or relocate to a safe location.
    They mark the water line to show the effect of rising water level, to convince the people.
    With sadness, they pulled down their houses and removed brick by brick( b’cos they are poor), and the council lorries
    help to transport them to the safe place, above the water line.
    Now they appreciate what the government had done for them.Their livelihood had improved

    In Malaysia, heavy rain and flooding in the east coasts can be predicted, and expected. Its a matter of how prepared are we. Don’t wait for help to come. It’s your lives.Run!
    Not all the victims get to wear a life jacket. I would suggest a tightly closed empty plastic bottle can save lives, by tying one to each child.
    If fallen into flood waters, they can float.
    Sound silly, but it works just as good as a life jacket.

  4. #5 by boh-liao on Saturday, 27 December 2014 - 6:09 pm

    WHAT lessons 2 learn?
    Expect d DUMB PAS kaki in K’tan 2 learn lessons?
    What lah, they only think of hudud
    Rakyat die, suffer, displaced, no food n water
    Think they cared?

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