KUANTAN: The devastation caused by the recent floods in Pahang is difficult to quantify as losses have already run into millions of ringgit.
Pahang Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob said it could even hit billions of ringgit as many infrastructures, public amenities and houses were severely damaged.
“We are still monitoring the situation closely after the third wave warning issued by the authorities.
“As of now, there are still many floods victims seeking shelter at relief centres.
“Hopefully, we can sit down soon and assess the losses and damages before preparing a detailed report.
“Our main priority now is to provide housing and accommodation to those who have lost everything to the floods,” he said when met after presenting schooling aid to the first batch of 1,600 students affected by the floods.
Adnan said he was on the ground and on air recently to assess the damages and was deeply saddened with the plight of some of the affected victims.
He said some houses were completely destroyed while some villages near river banks were reduced to a water clogged wasteland.
“I saw an elderly man in Temerloh squatting down looking at the destruction to his home and belongings.
“Everything was gone and he has got no savings,” Adnan said, adding that he instructed his aides to give the man a cash aid of RM5,000 to rebuild his life.
Adnan said he was not in a “denial syndrome” and acceded that indiscriminate felling of trees was one of the many contributing factors in the occurrence of floods over the years.
However, he said other factors must also be taken into account such as climatic change all over the world.
“We have never recorded a temperature of 17 degrees in the morning before this and I strongly believe, this year’s ravaging floods is a 40-year cycle occurrence and will not be a yearly affair such as floodings in low-lying areas namely Sungai Isap,” he said, citing the country’s last big floods in 1926 and 1971.
Adnan said the state government had already identified several plots of land to build new homes for the homeless and relocate those in flood-prone areas along river banks.
He said several suggestions had been received including constructing old Felda-style wooden homes in which three units could be completed within one day.
“I will propose to the Federal Government to set aside one huge amount of money to carry out flood mitigation measures once and for all as part of a holistic and long-term solution.
“Personally, I felt this option is better than to allocate a sum every year as preventive and alleviate measures,” he said.
On the cleaning up efforts, Adnan said all volunteers should register themselves with the authorities before going in for better co-ordination and prevent a duplicate of work.
He said there were many villages who needed assistance especially those in secluded and outskirts.