KUCHING: The Sarawak Disaster Relief Committee is fully ready to tackle floods, following an advisory from the Malaysian Meteorological Department (MET) two days ago.
State Welfare, Women and Family Development Minister Datuk Fatimah Abdullah said if it rained continuously for three days at low-lying areas, then flooding would most likely occur.
“That’s the information from MET, which was to look out for heavy rain. So far, we seem okay but we are still on standby mode,” Fatimah told reporters here yesterday.
She said forward bases had been stocked with food and evacuation centres were also ready to receive the displaced residents.
“For (evacuation) centres this year, we have asked for more partitions to be brought in. This is to provide some privacy especially for nursing mothers. In the past, it was always just an open space,” the minister said, adding that more boats were on standby.
Sarawak has been mostly spared from floods despite the monsoon season in full swing since the first week of December. Last week, minor floods did occur in the Baram area, affecting 14 schools.
“It wasn’t too bad but definitely there were damages. We have received early reports that indicate we’ll have to come up with some funds to repair jetties and floors,” state Education Department director Serina Sauni told reporters.
At the time of writing, the MET has warned of “second category” strong winds and rough seas covering the areas from Layang-Layang to Tioman, and from Kuching to Labuan. This is in effect until today
“This condition of strong winds and rough seas is dangerous to all shipping and coastal activities including fishing and ferry services,” it said.
The forecast for today is scattered rains for the whole of Sarawak. For the week ahead, rain is expected over coastal areas in the mornings, leading to isolated hunderstorms in the afternoons.
Earlier, the MET has forecast an “average” monsoon season for Sarawak, meaning there should be more than 20 rainy days in January, with accumulated monthly rainfall of 240mm to 850mm.
Generally, the southern portions of the state will be wetter than the north. Kuching should receive between 500mm and 850mm rainfall this month, compared with just 240mm-360mm in Miri.