Remain vigilant during monsoon, Sabah’s maritime community told

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah’s maritime community have been advised to keep tabs on the advisories to be released by the authorities during the coming months.

Sabah and Labuan Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) director First Admiral Datuk Mohd Rosli Abdullah said this was in addition to the weather warning already issued by the Malaysian Meteorological Department presently.

He said according to the department, the country was now experiencing a monsoon transition period which started on Oct 3 and would last to November, adding this would cause frequent thunderstorms in the Sabah east coast.

This would then be followed by the North-East monsoon which would start next month and stretch to March next year.

"This phenomenon will trigger king tides as well as stormy seas," he said, in a statement here on Friday (Oct 7).

Mohd Rosli said the Sabah East coast was expected to be among the areas which would be most affected.

"Based on the weather forecast, all parts of Sabah will receive average rainfall except for the Kudat and Sandakan districts where it will be slightly above the normal level in November and December.

"Hence, the maritime community are advised to remain alert on the warnings to be issued by the authorities from time to time," he said, adding the wearing of safety jackets must be given the highest attention during this period.

For those who needed to go out to sea, he added, they must prioritise personal safety as well as informing their families or next-of-kin on their purpose and location at sea, besides ensuring their vessels were safe to use.

Mohd Rosli said the public can report any emergency directly to the Malaysian Emergency Response Services 999 (MERS 999) or the Sabah and Labuan MMEA operations centre at 088-387774.

Meanwhile, the Sabah Civil Defence Force (APM) was all geared up for the monsoon season, with its personnel ready to transfer flood victims to any of the 345 temporary disaster relief centres statewide.

In a statement on Friday, an APM spokesman said the centres are able to accommodate up to 131,330 people.

At the same time, the spokesman said, the agency was ready to mobilise 3,314 personnel in the event of disasters, adding they would be utilising 26 light rescue vehicles, 16 each of medical and heavy rescue vehicles as well as 111 units of boats of various sizes.

The agency has also identified 667 flood-prone areas in the 30 flooding hot spots in the state, with the most at 115 located in the remote northeastern sub-district of Paitan.

The next most flood-prone district is Beaufort which has 60 easily flooded areas, followed by Kota Marudu (55), Kota Kinabalu (53) and Sipitang (45), among others.

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