The Star, 1 Jul 2014
PUTRAJAYA: Although the intensity of this year’s El Nino is expected to be mild or moderate, the Government is leaving nothing to chance.
The special cabinet committee set up to brace for weather phenomenon held its first meeting yesterday and was informed by the Malaysian Meteorological Department that, unlike the extreme El Nino of 1997 and 1998, the effects this time may not be as drastic.
The committee headed by Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin discussed measures to ensure adequate food and water supply, besides contingencies to handle open burning.
“Steps to ensure food security including agriculture, livestock and fish supplies were discussed,” the committee said in a press statement.
The Government was also prepared to increase food imports, if there were serious shortages.
The National Security Council will also be coordinating efforts by various ministries and agencies to tackle the effects of the El Nino on the environment and public health.
Teams will be deployed to tackle open burning and peat fires. Cloud seeding will also be conducted to increase raw water in dams and to reduce haze if necessary.
The National Water Services Commission (Span) will also work with state governments to monitor raw water reserves.
“Contingency plans will be activated if water levels in rivers and dams fall to critical levels.”
The committee said water rationing would only be implemented as a last resort.