News: Tropical storm Sonamu brewing in east coast

The Star, 7 Jan 2013

KOTA BARU: Kelantan and Terengganu have intensified preparations to face tropical storm Sonamu that is expected to make landfall tomorrow.

At least 150 members of the Civil Defence Department have been put on standby in the state capital

“My men have been put on alert since Sunday following the Meteo-rological Department warning of the tropical storm that is expected to bring heavy rain and pose a risk to low-lying areas in Kelantan, Tereng-ganu and Pahang,” said Kota Baru Civil Defence officer Wan Shukri Wan Ayub.

Meanwhile, the Pahang Fire and Rescue Department has put 781 personnel members on standby with seven helicopters, 72 water craft and 106 land transport vehicles ready to be mobilised at any time.

Its director Datuk Abdul Wahab Mat Yasin said the department had been given orders to lend assistance to Kelantan and Terengganu in case the situation there worsens.

“We have moved our personnel and equipment to higher ground. This is to allow our operations to go smoothly as the fire station in Kuantan was also flooded recently,” he said.

The department had earlier identified 116 areas at high risk of being flooded in Pahang.

National Security Council secretary Datuk Mohamed Thajudeen Abdul Wahab advised residents in the three states to be on alert.

He said the storm, developing from the Philippines and blowing across the South China Sea, was bringing winds of 90kph as of yesterday but would be reduced to 40kph from 45kph when it reaches Kelantan, Terengganu and certain parts of Pahang.

“Although the storm will be reduced to a tropical depression, there will be strong winds, rough seas and heavy rainfall,” he said.