Johor officials striving for coordinated disaster management
JOHOR BARU: The Johor Fire and Rescue Department has called for a meeting on state-level preparations for the northeast monsoon season, says its deputy director Mohd Rizal Buang.
He said the Malaysian Meteorological Department (MetMalaysia), National Disaster Management Agency (Nadma) and the state disaster management committee would attend the meeting.
“The meeting, led by the state disaster management committee, is usually held in September.
“MetMalaysia will share its forecast on the severity of this year’s monsoon and whether it is extreme or moderate, followed by presentations from the police, the Malaysian Armed Forces and other agencies,” he said when contacted.
Mohd Rizal added that there would also be a post-mortem report on the previous monsoon season with suggestions for improving the coordination and cooperation between agencies.
“Each agency has already completed its preparations, and the meeting is only to streamline our coordination so that we do not overlap,” he said.
He added that the department has also ordered all of its 1,501 personnel at 33 fire stations to be ready to work 12-hour or 24-hour shifts if needed.
“All of our assets – boats, lorries and other heavy vehicles – have been prepared to be deployed when needed, and right now, we are preparing to conduct a re-training programme for our personnel.
“Some of them will be involved in water training and boat driving exercise on Sept 23,” he said, adding that all leaves will also be frozen except for emergencies.
The department has 39 rescue boats, 10 lorries, and 44 four-wheel-drive vehicles distributed across all fire stations.
“We have also identified seven hotspots for drowning cases in the state, namely Pantai Tanjung Balau, Pantai Tanjung Sedili, Pantai Jason Bay, and Pantai Tanjung Buloh in Kota Tinggi; Tasik Tiga Beradik in Bandar Seri Alam, Pasir Gudang; Gunung Ledang in Segamat; and Pantai Air Papan in Mersing,” he said.
There are also 15 locations where water surge phenomena were said to be able to occur, namely in the waterfall areas in Kota Tinggi, Gunung Pelepah, Tengkil, Gunung Muntahak and Sungai Lebak.
Other places are Buaya Sangkut in Endau; Taman Eko Rimba Sungai Bantang, Ayer Putih, Takah Melur, Takah Pengkol and Sungai Bantang Bekok in Segamat, Gunung Ledang National Park in Tangkak; Gunung Pulai in Kulai; and Sungai Yong and Gunung Belimut in Kluang.
“The department will increase its surveillance in these areas when needed, and members of the public are always urged to be aware of the weather forecast issued by MetMalaysia and not go to these places during bad weather,” he said.
Meanwhile, Johor Water Regulatory Body director Natazha Hariss said releasing water from a dam is done under strict procedure and only when needed.
“Every dam in the state is built with its own carrying capacity, and if there is an excessive amount of water, it will only be released into rivers if it can damage the dam’s structural integrity.
“It is not done on purpose,” he said, denying public claims that such actions are done without prior consultation.
Natazha added that every state water governing body would alert the police and the district office to any proposed action that would be taken before it is done.
“Then the enforcement agencies involved will go down to the villages and move affected residents out if necessary,” he added.