PUTRAJAYA: As the monsoon season approaches, Malaysia is preparing itself for the possibility of flooding in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Special Tasks) Datuk Seri Mohd Redzuan Yusof said the National Disaster Management Agency (Nadma) has developed new standard operating procedure (SOP) for flood relief work, with Covid-19 in mind.
“In line with the adherence towards Covid-19 new norms, Nadma has enhanced its SOP for managing flood victims at relief centres.
“Victims and workers will have to undergo body temperature checks, and those who are symptomatic must be isolated and referred to the Health Ministry.
“All flood evacuation centres will have to be disinfected every now and then.
“Workers at the centres must also control the movement of people so that activities in large groups are disallowed, while food will only be provided in packets.
“Members of the public will not be allowed to visit flood relief centres and physical distancing must be followed at all times, ” said Mohd Redzuan at a press conference after chairing a Central Disaster Management Committee meeting here Monday (Sept 28).
The minister added that rescuers will also be asked to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) to prevent the possibility of contracting Covid-19 from flood victims.
“A rescuer will not be able to know the condition of a flood victim during an emergency. We would not know if they are Covid-19 positive or not. So, we must make sure the rescuers wear the appropriate PPE.
“There will be specific SOP developed on this by Nadma. This is to ensure that our frontliners are always safe during rescue missions, ” he said.
Mohd Redzuan said asset-wise, the government is adequately resourced and will have no need to make extra procurements should flooding problems happen.
“Our assets are adequate. We have 5,422 flood relief centres that could put up 1.5 million victims, so that is more than enough. At worst, we would need to put up maybe 500,000 victims, ” he said.
Mohd Redzuan said based on the Meteorological Department’s forecast, the country is likely to be spared from a bad disaster.
“We have our forecasts and predictions, based on the experience and expertise that we have. The meeting’s opinion is that we would not be facing a disaster that is hugely worrying, ” he said.
Meanwhile, on another matter, Mohd Redzuan is hoping passengers at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport will stay patient in the midst of the overcrowding caused by the Covid-19 screening.
“The screening process cannot be rushed, it is a delicate operation. We need to understand what the Health Ministry staff have to go through.
“Swabbing, for example. You cannot just do it quickly, ” said Mohd Redzuan.
According to reports, passengers arriving from Sabah were forced to wait up to six hours to go through at Covid-19 screening at KLIA and KLIA2.
From Sept 27, the government has ordered passengers arriving from Sabah to be screened for Covid-19 following a rise in cases in the state.