SEVERAL flood mitigation projects are in the pipeline to prevent flooding in Perak especially in Ipoh.
State housing, local government and tourism committee chairman Datuk Nolee Ashilin Mohammed Radzi said some areas that had previously never experienced flooding were now affected as well, especially during downpours.
Several projects have been approved while some are in progress, she said.
“There are various projects under the local councils’ purview that started last year.
“Last year, 81 infrastructure-upgrade projects were approved.
“This year, 27 projects have been approved until March.
“The projects include the upgrade of main drains, repairs due to erosion and upgrades of pump houses.”
Nolee Ashilin said with the unpredictable weather lately, flooding has been a main concern, especially in Ipoh and rural areas.
She hoped the projects would resolve the flooding issues.
Among areas in the city badly affected in the last few months are Taman Cempaka, Tambun, Manjoi, Bercham and Gunung Rapat.
“I ask for everyone’s cooperation to play a part in flood prevention and keep neighbourhood drains unclogged.
“If there are clogged drains, remove as much rubbish as possible or call the local council for help,” she advised.
Nolee Ashilin said local councils were also working closely with the Drainage and Irrigation Department.
“It is not possible to keep deepening certain rivers as they have reached the maximum capacity.
“So the public needs to cooperate by ensuring their backyards and surrounding areas are kept clean at all times.
“Once it starts to rain heavily, the neighbourhood is likely to get flooded,” she added.
Last November, residents of Taman Suria in Ipoh (off Jalan Kuala Kangsar) were badly affected when water rose up to waist level, damaging their furniture as well as electrical and electronic items.
Residents attributed the flooding to poor maintenance of drains and a retention pond.
Also around the same time, some 500 houses in Lim Garden were affected when floodwaters rose to knee level.
Residents claimed that faulty pumps were the reason.
Earlier this year, several areas in Bercham, Taman Cempaka, Tambun, and Kampung Sungai Rokam were inundated as well.Prof Richard Ng, who is president of Ipoh City Watch, said floods were now an unpredictable phenomena that could occur anytime of the year.
Ng, who is also an Ipoh city councillor, said 20 years ago, plans could be made as floods could be forecasted, especially during the north-east or south-west monsoon season.
Now, he said floods occurred even in cities such as Kuala Lumpur and Shah Alam due to climate change.
“Extraordinary heavy rain in the Kinta Valley in the past two years, with rainfall exceeding 200mm compared to 90mm previously, has caused flash floods to happen more often.
“Frequently affected areas include those near Sungai Pari and Sungai Pinji, such as Hock Aun Garden, Tai Lee Garden, Falim, Tambun and Taman Cempaka.
“This year, the highway near Gunung Lang was inundated and suffered massive congestion,” he added.
Ng said among the causes of floods were clogged monsoon drains, poor maintenance of water pumps and drainage systems, as well as rubbish and silt trapped under the river bed.
He said development within the Kinta district had outgrown the infrastructure required to drain out the volume of water.
“The drainage needs a serious overhaul in terms of size and capacity.
“Most of the drains are more than 30 years old and are unable to cope with current flooding issues.”
Ng also said that people must stop dumping rubbish indiscriminately into monsoon drains or rivers.
A civil servant living in Taman Suria, only known as Kiran, said floods have been occurring for the past 10 years but worsened in recent months.
“Several houses suffered severe damage due to floods, and residents are having sleepless nights.
“Action has yet to be taken by the relevant authorities.
“We hope the issue will be resolved soon,” she said.
K. Madhavan, 63, from Anjung Bercham, said the area usually experienced floods at the end of the year due to heavy rainfall.
However, in recent months, the area would get flooded each time there was a downpour, he said.
“During the recent floods in January, the roads outside the houses were like rivers.
“My three cars were badly damaged, and I had to fork out a hefty sum to get them repaired.”
Madhavan said the area’s drainage was poorly built.
“A retention pond nearby has also not been maintained for a few months. Monitor lizards and snakes have been spotted there.
“I really hope the state government’s plans will resolve flooding problems here,” he added.