KUANTAN: It has been a cold, wet and soggy start to the new year for Pahang folk inundated by seasonal floods.
As at 10am yesterday, there were 13,218 people sheltering at relief centres across the state’s 10 districts.
Kuantan is the worst hit with 3,400 victims, followed by Maran (2,781), Jerantut (1,759), Raub (1,688), Temerloh (1,160), Lipis (1,062), Rompin (814), Pekan (261), Bentong (195) and Bera (98).
Cameron Highlands is the sole district in Pahang which has not been adversely affected by the latest round of floods.
The National Disaster Management Agency reported that the number of flood victims was increasing even though the downpour, which lasted for a few days, had already eased up.
Annual floods are common in Pahang each time the northeast monsoon comes around towards the end of the year.
Luckily, the floods in the past few years did not reach the magnitude of the 2013 east coast deluge, which had caused much devastation.
The 2013 floods had claimed three lives and impacted more than 40,000 people in the state.
But that does not mean this year’s floods have not been destructive.
This year’s floods claimed its first victim, 58-year-old Zulkarnain Hitam, who had been wading through the floodwaters with his son Ukai Iskandar, 23, when they were swept away by strong currents.Zulkarnain’s remains have been recovered, though Ukai is still missing.
The Kuala Lumpur-Kuantan route through the East Coast Expressway Phase 1 was also cut off after a section of KM113 near Lanchang became submerged on Monday night.
Various groups and non-governmental organisations rallied together and initiated collection drives to source for essentials to be delivered to flood victims.
Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail also announced that more than 10,000 volunteers had been mobilised throughout the state to assist flood victims.
These volunteers, he said, were from NGOs such as the Pahang Social Action Council, Pahang State Women’s Development Council, Sukarelawan Tunas Warisan as well as all three wings of the state’s Umno divisions.
Wan Rosdy said they would cooperate with rescue departments and agencies to move flood victims to relief centres and contribute daily necessities.
“Since the floods hit the state two days ago, more than 10,000 volunteers have been mobilised and I am satisfied with the efforts being carried out.
“This can further ease the work by government departments and agencies under the coordination of the Disaster Operations Control Centre in the affected districts, ” he said.
Wan Rosdy said he had also instructed that relief efforts be enhanced to ensure that victims received the best help possible, including during the post-flood period.