Intensifying efforts along riverbanks

A policeman monitoring the situation at a street that is knee-deep in water in Kota Tinggi town.

JOHOR Fire and Rescue Department will be focusing rescue efforts along riverbanks in flood-prone areas statewide.

The department’s state director Datuk Yahaya Madis hopes to rope in additional manpower from neighbouring states – Melaka and Negri Sembilan – if the flood situation in Johor worsens.

“Right now, our focus is on mobilising personnel to flood-prone areas, ” he said, adding that most of the hotspots were located in Segamat, Tangkak, Pontian, Batu Pahat, Kota Tinggi and Johor Baru.

Heavy rain since Friday had caused widespread flooding in at least seven districts, leading to the evacuation of more than 6,248 people from 1,628 families in Johor Baru, Kota Tinggi, Kluang, Mersing, Pontian, Kulai and Batu Pahat.

So far, the state has recorded one death due to the floods – a 59-year-old woman drowned after falling into a one-metre drain at Jalan Setia, Kampung Contoh in Kluang.

Yahaya said that based on reports from the Meteorological Department, Johor was expected to experience heavy rainfall until Jan 10.

He said people living in high-risk areas had been told to evacuate early.

He added that the state Fire and Rescue Department was working with other departments, namely the Survey and Mapping, Meteorological, and the Drainage and Irrigation, to get information on high-tide and low-tide hours.

On manpower, Yahaya said 1,221 personnel had been deployed, aside from 155 auxiliary personnel placed at 32 fire stations statewide.

He said the department had 36 standard boats, two Kevlar boats and an amphibious rigid inflatable boat for rescue efforts.

He advised residents of high-risk areas to get accurate, current information from trusted sources and move into the nearest relief centre early.

“By going to a designated shelter early, the National Disaster Management Agency can better manage the flood victims’ needs, especially during this pandemic.

“Any important documents, emergency equipment and medicine should be placed in one bag that is easy to carry around and if possible, waterproof, in case of a sudden rise in water level, ” he added.

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