News: Relief centres can hold a million victims

Relief centres can hold a million victims

The Star, 12 Oct 2012

PETALING JAYA: The 5,068 flood relief centres nationwide are ready for operations and can accommodate 1.3 million people, Social Welfare Department principal assistant director Ahmad Hashim Selamat said.

These centres were sited in schools and community centres, he said.

Five regional depots would store food and other items such as blankets and mats, he said at the National Forum on Climate: The Northeast Monsoon yesterday.

Ahmad said that 2,474 volunteers had been briefed and given training on their tasks at relief centres.

For this year, federal funding of RM1.25mil had been allocated for cleaning kits and hygiene kits while another RM10.1mil would be given to states for food and other necessities, he said.

Meteorological Department director-general Che Gayah Ismail said the northeast monsoon would usually hit the east coast and southern part of the peninsula, the coast of Sarawak and east coast of Sabah in stages, starting from Kelantan and Terengganu next month and early December.

It would then hit the east of Pahang and Johor in December and early January and Sabah and Sarawak in January and February, she said in her speech.

Last year, there were five episodes of heavy rain where two were strong on Nov 19 and Dec 17 and affected Johor, Pahang, Sabah and Sarawak and displaced 15,000 victims and left seven dead, said Che Gayah.

Marine and Oceanography director Lim Zhe Hui said that an advisory on strong winds and rough seas would be given four days before an incident and a warning three days ahead.

The first category of advisory/warning is given for small boats, recreational boats and sea sports to stop operation when wind speed reaches 40 to 50km per hour and the wave at 3.5m, he said.

The shipping line and ferry services would be warned when the wind speed reaches 50 to 60km an hour and wave hits 4.5m while all fishing and work at oil rig should stop when wind speed reaches 60km an hour and wave above 4.5m.

On health preparation, health medical officer Dr Rozlan Ishak said officers would carry out health checks at all relief sites.

During disasters, the Health Ministry would set up mobile clinics and doctors would be sent to treat injuries as well as monitor water-born diseases, he said, adding that health inspectors would also inspect surrounding area for mosquitoes.

Crisis Relief Squad of MCA national chief Datuk Dr Lee Hong Tee said they had 600 volunteers who would assist victims by sending them to relief centres.

“The volunteers will also help send the victims home and clean up their houses after the floods.”