Bandar Kuching MP urges fed, State govts to beef up preparations for possible floods

Dr Kelvin Yii (File Photo).

KUCHING, Dec 27: Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii urged the federal and State governments to heed the Malaysian Meteorological Department’s (Met Malaysia) warning and beef up their machinery to prepare for possible floods in Sarawak and the need for evacuation during the monsoon surge.

He noted Met Malaysia had forecast a monsoon surge from Dec 27 to Dec 30, which could cause continuous rain in eastern Johor, eastern Sabah, and western Sarawak between Dec 28 and 30.

As such, Dr Yii pointed out that both the federal and State governments must learn from the poorly coordinated flood response, especially during the recent floods in Peninsular Malaysia, where the death toll rose to 46 with five people missing and more than 70,000 displaced.

“There cannot be any more excuses if there are any poorly executed pre-disaster coordination and delivery, especially since we have been suffering from chronic floods all these years.

“That is why we need a comprehensive coordination between the National Disaster Management Agency (Nadma) and the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) to mitigate the risk of flooding in high-risk areas and establish a ‘Flood Disaster Relief Machinery’ to ensure coordinated relief operations at the federal, State and district levels so that assistance can be provided to flood victims in an orderly and effective manner.

“In the short term, all local councils in Sarawak must ensure all drain maintenance and cleaning are done before the predicted monsoon surge at the end of the year.

“This is to reduce the chances of flash floods and to ensure that there will be a proper outflow of water and not be blocked by debris build-up or from other causes, causing flash floods, especially in the urban areas.

“SDMC should also be actively warning and educating residents in high-risk areas on steps that need to be taken in preparation for the floods.

“Temporary relief centres must be properly set up with proper standard operating procedures (SOPs) in place in preparation for a possible rise in Covid-19 infection due to these unfavourable conditions and also the local spread of Omicron,” he said in a press statement today.

Dr Yii added all healthcare facilities must be equipped to deal with possible health crises on top of Covid-19, especially when it comes to after-flood water-borne diseases such as leptospirosis, cholera, hepatitis A or even typhoid.

Over the long term, he said the Department of Irrigation and Drainage Sarawak must expedite the State Flood Mitigation project.

It includes the RM150 million flood mitigation project that was supposed to be carried out this year to provide some long-term measures to address the flash floods issue in low-lying areas.

Dr Yii believed the residents would continue to face flooding issues every year and all kinds of loss and damage to their properties if the flood mitigation projects were not carried out as soon as possible.

With all the warnings and experience from past flood issues, Dr Yii believed the government has no excuses for any poorly executed pre and post-disaster coordination and delivery. — DayakDaily