Authorities beefing up for disasters


PETALING JAYA: With more rain expected towards end-2022 as the northeast monsoon returns in yet another La Nina year, government departments and agencies are gearing up for any eventuality, including floods and landslides.

They said preparations and coordination efforts are in place for the monsoon, which could bring continuous heavy rain that is forecast to start in November.

Fire and Rescue Department operations and rescue division director Datuk Nor Hisham Mohammad said it had been intensifying preparations for the monsoon, with drills to be carried out at the state and district levels starting October.

“The main focus of the training is to enable us to develop coordination communications between the agencies involved,” he said.

National-level training would also be carried out on Oct 19 in Genting Highlands, Genting Sempah and Bentong to prepare to deal with disasters such as floods and landslides, he added.

Bomba, he said, was also beefing up its logistics and manpower.

“We have just finished the course for 1,000 additional firemen and we also hired 150 auxiliary firemen for four states. This will strengthen our manpower.

“We have procured 60 additional rescue boats which we will receive in November and 100 units of lighting systems, to add to the strength of our existing logistics,” he added.

The Meteorological Department (MetMalaysia) said it was forecasting more rainfall than usual starting November, which would be compounded by the La Nina phenomenon.

On Sept 2, according to the current El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) status on the department’s website, La Nina conditions are currently present and have a 60% probability to continue until December.On July 7, The Star reported weather experts predicting that the La Nina phenomenon might carry on until the end of the year.

The experts had also said that the current La Nina was unusual given that it began in the middle of 2021 and should have ended by now.

The focus during the northeast monsoon, said Nor Hisham, would be on the east coast states as well as Johor, Sabah and Sarawak.

“As we are already aware, the northeast monsoon issue is dynamic and has a pattern based on the past years’ experience as well as the impact we witnessed in 2012,” he said, adding that the department was working closely with MetMalaysia.

Should there be any risk of major floods, Nor Hisham said teams would be put on full alert for deployment to any location.

He advised Malaysians to be sensitive to weather changes and avoid planning vacations in risky areas such as slopes or hiking spots during the monsoon, as well as going swimming due to strong waves.

“The public is also advised to take note of government advisory on measures and actions that need to be taken,” he said.

National Disaster Management Agency (Nadma) director-general Datuk Aminuddin Hassim said it was constantly monitoring the situation and coordinating follow-up action with district and state disaster secretariats.

MetMalaysia, the Irrigation and Drainage Department, the Minerals and Geosciences Department, the Public Works Department, the Malaysian Space Agency, the Survey and Mapping Department as well as other related agencies are also sharing warnings and the latest information through the National Disaster Command Centre and the Disaster Operations Control Centre, as well as issuing public announcements through mass and social media.

“The disaster command centre will constantly monitor the situation of technical information parameters in cooperation with various technical agencies.

“Residents, especially in areas that are expected to flood, are asked to be alert and sensitive to the instructions of the authorities,” he said.

Aminuddin also advised the public to refer to the MetMalaysia website at www.met.gov.my, its social media accounts and the myCuaca mobile app for updates.

Current information and warnings on floods can be accessed via the website publicinfobanjir.water.gov.my, facebook @PubliclnfoBanjir and twitter @JPS InfoBanjir.

“Be aware of disaster warnings to always be prepared. Make sure you refer to the latest information from an authentic source,” he said.

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