KUCHING: The state Civil Defence Department is on high alert to help evacuate flood victims during the coming onslaught of the landas season.
Its director Col (PA) Mat Zin Bujang said the department’s 22,354 trained personnel were well spread out throughout Sarawak except for Bario, Kapit and Lawas districts.
“But if there is a need arising in a district where we do not have a base and personnel presence like in Kapit, we will get those from Sibu to help out.
“If a disaster strikes in Sri Aman and the district is short of equipment and personnel, those from nearby districts like Kuching, Betong or Sarikei will assist,” he told a press conference on the department’s flood preparedness here yesterday.
Mat Zin said the majority of the rescue personnel comprised trained volunteers as the department only had 86 permanent staff.
He said Sibu district had the most personnel at 6,250 followed by Kuching (2,773), Sarikei (2,765), Asajaya (2,542) and Sri Aman (1,477).
On equipment, he said, among others, the state had 42 vehicles including 4WD, 21 boats, 219 life jackets, 24 life buoys, 35 chain saws and 14 dive suits.
Mat Zin said some states in Peninsular Malaysia already experienced major flooding and a second wave of flooding was expected.
In Sarawak, isolated flooding had occurred in Marudi recently although the worse-case scenario is expected at the peak of the landas season, he said.
Mat Zin said the just completed Civil Defence Department’s Petra Jaya District Office near Jalan Diplomatik-Bako would be handed over to the department next week. The new facility would serve as State Operations Control Centre and MERS999 Control Centre to monitor and coordinate all emergency assignments in Sarawak.
“It will also serve as our training centre in the future once the second phase of the project is completed,” he said.
The first phase of the facility, built on a 4.8-acre site, cost about RM14.8mil, while the remaining 15 acres would be for the second phase, he said.