S’wak gets ready for floods

KUCHING: The State Disaster Management Committee has readied 622 relief centres statewide capable of housing 195,825 evacuees as it prepares for the northeast monsoon season.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah, who is chairman of the committee, in a statement issued recently said 139 centres with total capacity of 31,280 evacuees are in Kuching, 36 centres in Samarahan with the capacity of 12,250 evacuees.

Serian has 35 centres with total capacity for 8,670 individuals, Sri Aman — 39 centres (16,800), Betong — 46 centres (17,470), Sarikei — 25 centres (6,100), Sibu — 48 centres (20,550), Kapit — 28 centres (6,150), Mukah — 36 centres (14,650), Bintulu — 58 centres (11,600), Miri — 107 centres (31,005) and Limbang — 25 centres which can accommodate 19,300 evacuees.

During the northeast monsoon, rainfall of up to three consecutive days can result in floods in low-lying and flood-prone areas. If heavy rainfall occurs simultaneously with high tide, the risk of a flood will be even higher.

According to weather forecast, Bintulu and Miri are expected to receive rainfall of between 300mm and 500mm in November and December, while Sri Aman, Sarikei, Mukah and Sibu divisions are expected receive rainfall of between 400mm and 550mm in December and January.

In January and February, Kuching, Samarahan and Serian divisions are expected to receive a high amount of rainfall, between 400mm and 800mm.

The Welfare Department also provides forward base in 16 areas — Kuching (2), Kapit (4), Bintulu (3) and Miri (7).

As part of their preparations, a total of 14,970 officers and personnel of various security agencies are on standby in anticipation of the floods.

The agencies involved include Malaysian Armed Forces, Royal Malaysia Police, Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba), Sarawak Health Department, Civil Defence Force (APM), Malaysian Volunteers Department (Rela) and Department of Social Welfare (JKM).

The committee has also mobilised its logistics of three helicopters, five drones, 211 trucks, 500 four-wheel drive vehicles, 291 boats and 111 ambulances.