Sabah developing new flood detection and forecasting system

KOTA KINABALU: A flood detection system called PRAB is being developed to inform users of possible monsoon floods seven days earlier and give flash flood alerts between one to three hours prior in Sabah.

Sabah Agriculture and Fishery assistant minister Datuk James Ratib said this flood warning and forecast programme was being developed by the state drainage and irrigation department together with the federal level, based on the Malaysia Meteorological Department weather forecast.

He said the four main objectives of this is to develop a flood forecasting system that can alert the public using information from the Department's forecast.

It was to also improve the existing system capacities to enable responding agencies and victims to take necessary actions faster.

"It is also to increase the accuracy of flood forecasting among others," said Ratib.

He said this in response to a question from Usukan assemblyman Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak at the state assembly meeting here, Monday (Nov 28).

Salleh had asked whether the state was planning to build a flood monitoring system and whether temporary relief shelters would be built to cater to flood evacuees when disaster struck.

He had also asked for updates on the flood mitigation project for Kota Belud during the question and answer session.

On the PRAB, Ratib said the four main components to work on are the hydrology date tracing system, ICT infrastructure system and database, flood forecast modeling system, and flood spread and warning system.

"There will be two phases to its implementation expected, whereby the first phase will involve the Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang rivers while phase two would involve a total of 38 riverways including those in Sabah and Sarawak," he said.

He said phase one of this system has started initiating in 2019, and expected to complete by 2025.

On temporary relief centres, Ratib said there were already venues such as community halls to house flood and disaster victims and the state government would only consider adding or building new ones if there was a need, in terms of adding location and facilities.

As for the Kota Belud flood mitigation project, he said several initiatives for the Kadamaian river, Tempasuk, Abai and Kawang-Kawang were already in progress.

"The projects started on Mac 21 this year and are expected to complete by March 20, next year," he said.

For long term mitigation measures, a feasibility study for integrated water resources and flood mitigation in Kota Belud are already at the end stage of its research documentation preparation, said Ratib.

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