By Geryl Ogilvy
KUCHING, Dec 6: All natural disaster operation centres across the state have been equipped with video conferencing facilities to expedite real-time response in the event of floods.
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said the system, available at all divisional and district operation centres, is also linked to mobile devices to ensure quick, accurate decisions and action could be taken to mobilise rescue agencies and supply of aid.
Evacuation exercises could also be carried out more efficiently, he added.
Uggah, who is also the state Disaster Management Committee chairman, said all information and report with regards to natural disaster incidents in Sarawak would go through the committee secretariat at the state operation centre to avoid contradicting data and public confusion.
“By operating at the same centre, coordinating officers, personnel and logistics of all state and federal agencies can be carried out more strategically, organised and harmoniously.
“These are all the improvements we have implemented as we face the monsoon season,” he told a press conference after chairing the committee meeting at Wisma Bapa Malaysia here today.
The Malaysian Meteorological Department had announced that the northeast monsoon season would hit the state from Oct 27 till March next year.
To date, 22,436 rescue personnel and first responders have been put on standby in the event of flood across the state. In terms of assets, there would be 328 boats, 484 four-wheel drive vehicles, 121 lorries, 101 ambulances, five helicopters and five drones belonging to agencies such as the military, police, Fire and Rescue Department, Civil Defence Force, Welfare Department and People’s Volunteer Corps (Rela).
Uggah said 621 evacuation centres that can hold 199,065 people have been set up. Kuching has the highest number of evacuation centres at 162, followed by Miri with 107.
The Welfare Department has also prepared 18 front bases in Kuching, Kapit, Bintulu, Miri, Sri Aman and Mukah, including stores and depots in Kuching, Samarahan and Miri with 165 suppliers throughout the state.
In addition, the deputy chief minister said all Resident Offices were prepared to activate their respective divisional and district flood operations room.
“I am confident that with cooperation from all agencies, our machinery and operations will run smoothly at all levels to manage floods and other natural disasters.
“We strive to be more organised to ensure the safety and comfort of flood victims,” he said.
When asked on potential areas that could be hit with heavy flood this time around, Uggah said this was quite difficult to predict considering that the trend was different over the past three years.
Heavy flood hit several areas in the Kuching division in 2016, followed by Miri last year and Selangau this year. — DayakDaily