Dept: Rapid increase in flood victims slows down relief efforts

Khairin Nisa says the unexpected rise in number of flood victims and limited road access are among challenges faced by the state Welfare Department in providing relief.

THE unexpected and sudden increase in flood victims and limited road access are among challenges being faced by the Johor Welfare Department in providing relief, says state women, family and community development committee chairman Khairin Nisa Ismail.

According to her, many did not expect floods to badly hit places like Chaah and Yong Peng, which rarely had such devastating incidents in the past.

“Everything happened very quickly and places that we never expected to experience floods were the ones most impacted.

“In a short period of time, the Welfare Department set up dozens of temporary flood relief centres to house the flood victims,” she told StarMetro.

She said many roads were cut off in just a few hours, making it difficult for food supplies and officers from the department to reach the affected areas.

“The department also faced some difficulties in the first few days as many roads in the affected districts were submerged, including the roads leading to Chaah,” she added.

Khairin Nisa said more than 500 officers from the department were overwhelmed by the situation and were thankful that assistance came from other states, especially in terms of manpower.

“They helped to beef up flood relief efforts significantly,” she added.

On March 3, in response to the flood situation in Johor, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim announced an allocation of RM50mil for immediate flood assistance.

This was on top of RM10mil that was announced by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi the day before.

During Anwar’s recent visit to Johor, he also announced that flood mitigation plans worth RM600mil would be expedited in Batu Pahat, Segamat and Kota Tinggi.

“This (flood) is a serious issue and if we do not take any action, it will happen again.

“This is not the first time we experience floods, we have seen it come and go for years.

“As such, the government has decided to expedite the implementation of some RM600mil for flood mitigation projects.

“All the flood mitigation projects that have been approved, including those in Johor, must start in June this year.

“We cannot delay it any longer,” he stressed.

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