KUALA LUMPUR • Malaysia's emergency agencies are preparing evacuation centres, stockpiling food and getting ready rescue boats ahead of major floods anticipated to hit the country's east coast in the coming weeks.
The authorities have identified 666 temporary relief centres that could house 165,000 people in Pahang, Kelantan and Terengganu, which are expected to bear the brunt of the north-east monsoon season in mid-November.
Besides flooding, mudflows and landslides are feared.
"We expect rainfall from the second week of November, with heavy rains from December to January next year. If there is continuous rainfall, massive floods are likely,'' said a Pahang Meteorological Department spokesman.
The department warned of exceptionally high tides on Nov 14 and Dec 14, with a total of 385 areas in the states being prepared for floods.
The official said early warnings would be issued 48 hours in advance. Residents would be evacuated before the floodwaters rise to dangerous levels.
Should a major flood occur, parts of the East Coast Highway (near the Temerloh rest area) and Jalan Ubai in Pekan, Pahang, will be cut off.
Mudflows are also expected in parts of the beach town of Beserah and several bauxite mining areas in Pahang's state capital, Kuantan.
A total of 118 locations in the state have been identified as possible landslide areas, with Maran being the most exposed.
A total of 107 bases will have food stockpiled for up to three days beginning Nov 7.
Leave for flood rescue personnel has been frozen for three months beginning Nov 15.
Pahang Crisis Relief Squad of MCA (CRSM) chief Chang Hong Seong said all its members were on standby.
"We will assist in distributing aid and help in evacuation efforts. Most of our members have received training and have the experience of dealing with major floods,'' he said.
Kelantan civil defence director Zainuddin Hussin said via telephone from Kota Baru: "Everything is in place and we are all ready.
"Flood drills have been conducted many times and canned food, water and blankets have been stocked up."
Terengganu civil defence director Che Adam A. Rahman said community leaders at flood-prone areas were also ready.
"We have conducted flood simulation exercises for them, teaching them how to react and where to go to in case of floods," he said, adding that 500 places, including schools and community halls, have been registered as flood evacuation centres.
THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK