Shortage of boats hampering flood victim rescue effort

Aziz speaking with a woman while visiting the home inundated with floodwaters.

KUCHING, Jan 14: The Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba) Sarawak is in need of more fast rescue boats (FRB) to facilitate evacuation operations as the flood situation in many areas across the state have worsened.

Democratic Action Party (DAP) Batu Kitang branch chairman Abdul Aziz Isa said the Bomba has insufficient logistic assets to evacuate flood victims at Desa Wira Resettlement Scheme after going down to monitor the flood situation in several areas which were badly affected by floods last night.

“I personally saw it with my own eyes that there is only one FRB available to evacuate the flood victims including persons with disability (OKU), elderly, children and pregnant women.

“Some even have to carry their own elderly parents for more than one kilometre just to get out of the affected areas.

“One of the flood victims told me that she has been waiting for hours for the Bomba personnel to come over to evacuate her children. As the floodwaters rise to nearly two-feet, they have no choice but to carry their children out from the affected area by walking,” he said in a statement today.

In times of crisis such as natural disasters, Aziz pointed out that both Federal and State governments must ensure that its agencies were fully equipped with sufficient logistic assets.

He highlighted this as he observed there was a totally different scenario in Peninsula Malaysia with the Bomba stations there more equipped with sufficient units of FRB, unlike in Kuching which was the opposite.

“Sarawak is blessed with an abundance of natural resources, and yet only one FRB was available to rescue hundreds of flood victims at Desa Wira Resettlement Scheme.

“How can such a thing happen to us here? Are we being treated unfairly despite being part of the Perikatan Nasional (PN) coalition?” he questioned.

Aziz, who is also the special assistant to Chong Chieng Jen, added that this demonstrated that both the Federal and State governments have failed to keep their priorities straight.

“Since both Federal and State governments control all of the government agencies, it is impossible that they did not receive any warnings from the Meteorological Department to prepare themselves.

“It’s shameful that the GPS (Gabungan Parti Sarawak)-led State government talked so much about having its own autonomous rail transit (ART), hydrogen buses, digital village and coastal guard, yet they failed to provide sufficient units of FRB which cost the state government below RM1 million,” he criticised.

These talks, he continued, were useless if the State government failed to provide basic necessities and keep their priorities right.

“Since the floods in the affected areas don’t seem to subside, on behalf of the Bomba, I urge both Federal and State governments to provide more FRB and necessary equipment,” he called on. -DayakDaily