Reports by MOHD FARHAAN SHAH, REMAR NORDIN, STEPHEN THEN, R.S.N. MURALI and DENISE KHOO
KUALA LUMPUR: After thousands of residents were displaced by floods in Kelantan and Terengganu early this month, the floods have moved southwards, with Johor and Pahang now affected.
The situation in Johor and Pahang has worsened with the number of evacuees in flood-hit areas in both states continuing to rise.
In Melaka, 13 people were evacuated to a relief centre after their houses at Kampung Bukit Balai in Durian Tunggal were flooded following two days of rainfall.
In Johor, the flood situation has worsened with the number of flood victims seeking shelter at temporary relief centres at more than 5,000 people.
As at 5pm, 5,592 people from 1,549 families had been evacuated compared to 4,326 people from 1,217 families as at 3pm yesterday.
State Local Government, Urban Wellbeing and Environment Committee chairman Tan Chen Choon said the authorities had so far opened 63 relief centres in nine affected districts.
“Kluang has the highest with 1,296 victims followed by Mersing (1,282) and Kota Tinggi (1,257).
“The other flooded districts are Segamat with 945 victims, Johor Baru (550), Pontian (109), Kulai (90), Batu Pahat (38) and Muar (25), ” he said in a statement yesterday.
Tan said one centre in Kluang, the Balai Raya Kampung Melayu Batu 4 near Paloh, had closed as all victims were allowed to go home.
He said the flood also closed three roads in Kota Tinggi and flooded five others with only large vehicles able to pass by.
The closed roads are Jalan Kampung Mawai Lama, Jalan Ladang Bukit Payung and Jalan Ladang Logok-Jalan Ladang Bukit Kelompok.
The flooded roads are Jalan Batu 17 and 18, Jalan Perani Lok Heng KM10, Jalan Selekoh Batu 19, Jalan Mawai-Sedili and Jalan Mawai-Bukit Samsu.
“A road closure was also reported in Mersing due to a landslide in Jalan Teluk Arong where only light vehicles can pass the area, ” he
In Pahang, the number of flood victims in Rompin rose to 756 people from 195 families as at noon yesterday, compared to 681 victims from 176 families in the morning.
The Social Welfare Department Disaster Info Portal reported that as of noon, nine relief centres were operating in Rompin.
PPS SK Kampung Pianggu recorded 263 victims from 76 families, followed by PPS Kampung Setajam (172 people, 48 families), SK Sarang Tiong (117 people, 25 families) and Rompin Weightlifting hall (42 victims, 10 families), it said.
It also said PPS Kampung Sepayang community hall was home to 42 victims from 10 families, Teluk Gading Hall in Tanjung Gemok (30 victims, eight families), Surau Kampung Perpat (23 victims, four families), Bukit Lepas community hall (33 victims, eight families) and PPS Kampung Janglau community hall (34 victims, six families).
Meanwhile, Deputy Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Raja Kamarul Bahrin Shah said in Kuala Nerus that the Fire and Rescue Department (JBPM) would be transferring some of its assets from the west coast states of the peninsula to Terengganu as it geared up for a possible fourth wave of floods to hit the state.
He said the move was aimed at improving the logistics and response time for rescue operations and evacuation of flood victims.
This was also due to an inadequate number of assets especially five-tonne lorries in the state as Terengganu has several flood-risk locations to cover.
“The fourth wave, which is expected to occur between Dec 24 and 25, is likely to be bigger than the third wave due to the combination of high tide and heavy rainfall.
“Our problem (in the state), especially in rural areas, is that people prefer to wait until the last minute to evacuate, so we need to prepare several trucks to move them from several villages simultaneously, ” he said.
The government, he said, was also studying the need to purchase important assets such as large trucks and helicopters for various uses due to the growing population and for the purpose of search and rescue, evacuation of flood victims, forest fires and so on.
“For example, JBPM currently has only eight helicopters for its mission throughout Malaysia including Sabah and Sarawak.
“Hence, in a special meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail last week, we discussed the need to purchase additional assets, ” he said, adding that it could also be used by other agencies such as the police and maritime authorities for appropriate purposes.