News: Kuantan town inundated

The Star, 25 Dec 2012

KUANTAN: Several roads here have been flooded following heavy rains which lashed the state capital for more than five hours.

Residents said the floods in the town were the worst they had seen in the last 10 years.

A spokesman from the Pahang Disaster Operations Control Centre said about 14 main junctions in the town were a metre-deep in flood waters by 11am yesterday.

The flash floods caused massive traffic congestion along Jalan Tun Ismail Satu, Jalan Beserah, Jalan Wong Ah Jang, Jalan Lim Hoe Lek, Jalan Abd Aziz, Jalan Mahkota, Jalan Bukit Ubi, Jalan Air Putih, Jalan Pasar and Terminal Makmur bus station.

Hundreds of vehicles were also trapped in the floods.

More than 500 residents were evacuated and housed in relief centres, while scores of shops and some shopping malls had to be shut down until the water receded.

In the Air Putih and Semambu areas, people had to leave their houses after a nearby river burst its banks.

Housing estates in Sungai Isap, such as Taman LKNP, Bukit Setongkol, Taman Peru-mahan Transit Quarters and Taman Teratai were also flooded.

Tengku Mahkota Pahang Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah, who visited the victims at the relief centres, said poor maintenance of the drains had been blamed for the flash floods in the town.

“The drainage system also could not cope with the unusually heavy rains.

“The drains will need to be upgraded,” he added.

Tengku Abdullah said he was informed that the present drainage system in Kuantan could manage water runoff from 150mm of rainfall per day.

However, it was found that the runoff had reached 250mm yesterday, which caused the sudden floods.

“The flash floods were quite unexpected. I was told some victims could not save their belongings in time. I hope the Government will find a good solution to the problem,” he added.

Meanwhile, in Jerantut, the police advised 10,000 people living in low-lying areas along the Tembeling and Pahang rivers in the district to evacuate immediately if the levels of the rivers continued to rise.

Jerantut police chief Supt Azid Ismail said the heavy rain over the past three days could cause the Tembeling and Pahang rivers to burst their banks at any time.

He also advised the 50 boat operators providing services to Taman Negara to stop doing so if the Tembeling River level continued to rise.