Surviving and helping out during water surges

Better safe than sorry: participants using makeshift flotation devices while holding plastic babies to simulate a flood emergency during the Misarorganised Public Flood Survival Programme in Kuala Lumpur. — FAIHAN GHANI/The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: M. Komathi made a commitment to learn about flood preparedness and ensure she would never face a situation like what she went through during the devastating December 2021 floods.

The 37-year-old resident of Taman Sentosa, Klang, was a victim of the floods that inundated Taman Sri Muda and other parts of Selangor at the time.

Komathi said she participated in the Public Flood Survival Programme, organised by Malaysia International Search and Rescue (Misar) yesterday, to acquire the necessary knowledge for flood preparedness.

“At the time of the incident, I was trapped at home with my dogs. Luckily, there was a second level of the house where the dogs and I could stay until help arrived the next day.

“It was terrifying as I did not know what to do or where to go,” she said, describing it as the worst experience of her life.

Komathi wasted no time in enrolling for the free one-day programme at the Misar Academy here after learning about it on social media.

Some 200 participants got hands-on experience of what to do in a flood emergency, including preparing makeshift flotation devices, handling persons with disabilities, escaping from a flooded car and even pet survival.

Another participant, Bandar Sri Damansara resident Izan Ezrina Mohd Elias, 43, said the programme was a good opportunity to experience real search and rescue during a flood.

“We have been involved in post-flood aid before. We want to learn more about what signs to look out for before a flood happens and how to help,” she said.

Misar founder and chairman K. Balasupramaniam, known to many as Captain Bala, said participants included community leaders, people with special needs, families, senior citizens and other volunteer groups.

Bala, who is also a safety activist and emergency survival trainer, said indications that an evacuation could be necessary included continuous heavy rain, overflowing drains and the triggering of early warning systems.

“People’s preparedness for floods should be the priority. We cannot place all the burden for this on the government.

“The government, however, must cooperate with big corporations to build stronger survival awareness among the public.

“This programme is a practical learning experience to know how to reach people should they be caught in such situations,” Bala added.

The programme was sponsored by Allianz Malaysia Berhad and supported by the Royal Malaysia Police, Bridgestone Malaysia and Bosch Malaysia.

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Misar , flood , preparedness , signs , Captain Bala , rescue


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