Floods ease in most of Kedah


  • Nation
  • Saturday, 11 Oct 2003

BY ANTHONY TAN AND V. CHANDRASEKARAN

ALOR STAR: While the flood situation in most parts of Kedah improved yesterday, 378 people from 12 areas in the Kota Setar district were evacuated to 12 relief centres. 

The water level at Kepala Batas River breached its danger point while that of Anak Bukit River here had almost reached the danger level. 

A district official said the floods were caused by the rain and water upriver in Pendang flowing down here. 

Flood relief centres in Baling and Yan districts had closed after all evacuees returned home. The centres in Sik and Langkawi had closed earlier. 

As at 3.15pm yesterday, there were 9,572 evacuees in five districts compared to 13,508 evacuees in six districts a day earlier. 

Kuala Muda and Kulim districts remained in critical state, with 5,322 and 3,390 evacuees respectively. There were 384 and 376 evacuees in Bandar Baru and Pendang districts respectively. 

The Sultan of Kedah, Sultan Abdul Halim Mua’adzam Shah, visited flood victims at the relief centre at SK Kota Kuala Muda, about 25km from Sungai Petani. 

He gave away RM20,000 from the National Disaster Association, another RM20,000 from Yayasan Sultanah Bahiyah and food and blankets supplied by the Kedah Civil Servants Wives Association. 

The money and the food would be distributed to all flood victims staying at relief centres in the Kuala Muda district. 

The Sultan also gave away RM6,000 to each of the seven districts affected by the floods. The funds were donated by the Kedah zakat office. 

He later spent some time at the school where more than 50 families were temporarily sheltered after they were forced to evacuate their homes. 

Former Finance Minister Tun Daim Zainuddin blamed the “slow progress” of the RM450mil flood mitigation project for contributing to the floods. 

Hitting out at the two companies awarded the contract to carry out the project, he said: “The allocation was given three years ago when I was finance minister. The contract was awarded a long time back. It is just a matter of monitoring the progress. 

“I am disappointed that the companies’ slow progress is causing so much problems to the people in Kedah now,” he said. 

Daim, who is Merbok MP, said he would contact the two companies in his capacity as MP to find out the reason for the delay. 

“I want to know from the original contractors why there is no sign of progress. The Government should be doing it and since this is my kawasan, I have got to do it. 

“It was because of the severity of floods in Kedah that the Federal Government had approved the allocation for the flood mitigation project immediately,” he said after giving food items to flood victims at Bukit Selambau near Sungai Petani yesterday. 

Daim said each time floods hit Kedah, the worst affected were students staying in low lying rural areas. 

“Three years ago, when I came here, there were many students who had lost their books and computers in the floods. This seems to be a recurring problem. 

“You can understand if floods of this magnitude happened in the old days. The floods used to last two weeks in Kedah. But this should not happen now.”  

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