BALING: The Rural Development Ministry will build a temporary bridge after the existing Lata Celak bridge in Kampung Iboi here collapsed when floods hit the district on Monday (July 4).
Its minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid remedial action was necessary to allow villagers to commute to schools and mosques nearby.
"We will make a bridge extension that will allow the villagers to cross the river to go to schools and mosques.
"We will make a temporary bridge first because a concrete bridge will take time," he told reporters after inspecting the flood-hit area around Kampung Iboi on Tuesday (July 5).
Mahdzir said all assistance related to repairs or construction of infrastructure and houses damaged as a result of the disaster would be coordinated by the Implementation Coordination Unit (ICU) of the Prime Minister's Department.
"All remedial work will be coordinated by the ICU and all other agencies will follow," he said, adding that the ministry had an allocation for immediate repair work on facilities affected by disasters although it would need proper scrutiny before approval.
He also said the ministry, through GiatMara, would help repair an estimated 70 houses damaged in the disaster.
Mahdzir added that ministry premises such as the Community Development Department (Kemas) kindergartens in the area had not been affected, but he was informed that there had been Kemas staff who were victims of the flood.
Monday's flash floods and water surge phenomenon claimed the lives of three members of a family while seven houses were swept away by strong currents.
Following the disaster, the Federal Government will be channelling initial assistance of RM1,000 to each family affected by floods here, while RM10,000 will be given to the families who lost their loved ones.
Meanwhile, additional firefighters from other states will be dispatched immediately to help the victims, said Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican.
He said so far, 146 firefighters including senior officers from Kedah along with four special teams – search and rescue operations, water rescue, special tactical operations and rescue Malaysia and drone unit.
He added that the team also involved three support units from Perlis, Perak and Penang.
Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Dr Noraini Ahmad said that public university student volunteers and the Student Volunteer Foundation were being mobilised to the affected areas.
"For a start, the ministry has mobilised more than 400 volunteers in stages to cater to the needs of flood victims by providing various forms of assistance and donations including cleaning work, supplying clothing and food provisions as well as self-care kits to those in need," she said in a statement.
Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu meanwhile said the ministry had activated the Rakan Muda volunteer mission in the district.
He said the initiative was mobilised through the Baling District Youth and Sports Office based on instructions and rulings to deploy volunteers coordinated with the Disaster Operations Control Centre led by the Baling District and Land Office.
"For a start, 75 volunteers in collaboration with the Baling Youth Council have started clean up work at two locations, Kampung Tiak and Kampung Bok Bak," he said. – Bernama