Transport woes hamper aid, supplies to nearly 200,000 flood victims

The Malaysian Insider
29 December 2014

The good news: Flood waters are receding and it was not raining in Kelantan yesterday although the number of evacuees there have risen to 134,139 last night.

The bad news: Many villagers are stranded without supplies, electricity or cash to buy basics such as candles or canned food as roads remain cut off to all land transport in most parts of the state.

“It’s chaos here,” one aid worker told The Malaysian Insider as he waited to get boats to distribute drinking water, biscuits and canned food in state capital Kota Baru yesterday.

He noted that some evacuation centres there were also flooded and unable to provide food for the flood victims while others came back empty handed from evacuation centres that had run out of supplies. “No co-ordination whatsoever. No proper governance of this disaster.

“One thing I can say from ground zero, our authorities are not prepared for a national disaster. Will we ever will?” the aid worker said.

Tonnes of food and water supplies have been flown to Kota Baru by commercial and military flights while Malaysians from other parts of the country have also contributed supplies via lorries to the flood-hit east coast states.

But aid workers say a lack of boats is hampering distribution to many villages cut off from Kota Baru.

It is understood that electricity cuts and flooded roads have also stopped banks from replenishing automatic teller machines and petrol companies from supplying fuel to the flood-hit villages.

The flood situation in Kelantan remained critical with more than 130,000 evacuees at relief centres. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Hasnoor Hussain, December 29, 2014.

“Many people are helpless. They don’t have light, food and even access to money to buy candles for the night,” another aid worker told The Malaysian Insider.

State news agency Bernama reported the flood situation in Kelantan remained critical with the number of evacuees rising to 134,139 at the relief centres last night against the 124,966 yesterday afternoon.

According to Kelantan Social Welfare Department director Nik Omar Nik Abdul Rahman, Kota Baru still recorded the highest number of flood victims with 42,469 followed by Pasir Mas (23,568), Kuala Krai (23,169), Tumpat (30,569), Gua Musang (7,529), Tanah Merah (3,546), Machang (3,097) and Pasir Putih (192).

Not much changed in the situation in Terengganu (24,097), Pahang (31669), Perak (7,539) and Johor (332).

In Terengganu, Bernama reported that piles of timber that blocked the main roads and exit of Kampung Rantau Panjang to Bukit Besi had left more than 1,000 residents stranded in a number of villages for the past three days.

The logs were strewn along the road for about 100m, cutting off the exit road and trapping people in their villages until a Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) helicopter brought food supplies.

“Due to continuous heavy rain for almost a week, logs stored up the hill had drifted downhill and littered the main road,” villager Nik Mohd Faizal Nik Mohd Fikri was quoted as saying by Bernama.

He said the logs from a nearby hill had blocked the road, cutting of access to the village and stopping them from going to work.

“Not only are our villages flooded, we are also facing the danger posed by huge logs that may continue to drift down from the hill and crash into our houses,” he said. – December 29, 2014.

  1. No comments yet.

You must be logged in to post a comment.