Malaysia prepares for second wave of floods

Volunteers help to clear the debris from the flood in Hulu Langat, Selangor, on Dec 25, 2021. PHOTO: THE STAR PUBLICATION

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) -  Malaysians are preparing for a second wave of flooding as authorities say continuous rain is expected in various parts of the country this week.

While Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob  has set  up a special task force to deal with this possibility, it has sparked trepidation among those still reeling from the massive deluge earlier.

Mr Muhammad Hasan Abdullah Sani, who stays in Kampung Sri Aman, Puchong, said he was worried because his house was near Sungai Klang.

“So, yes, I am kind of afraid if another one comes. I’m still a bit dazed from the first flooding because it all happened so fast.

“Now, the one thing in my mind is where do I find the money to repair my car and motorcycle,” he said.

However, Mr Muhammad Hasan said should there be a second flood, he would be a bit more prepared this time.

“A lot of food has been bought. My valuables are already damaged so if the flood comes again, it won’t be too bad,” he said.

Ms Ho Wei Ying and her husband Sunny Cheah, who live in Taman Sri Muda, Shah Alam, one of the worst hit areas, are anxious.

“I dread another power outage. But we are prepared in terms of food, torches and power banks,” said Ms Ho.

Mr Cheah said he was especially worried for those families who lived on the ground floor units of his apartment block.

Mr Edward Devadason, who leads a team of volunteers in Taman Sri Muda, said the phobia of another flood was very real on the ground.

“Although there’s so much fear, people are more prepared. We know what to do, where to go.

“The sea levels are also not as high as the first flood and the flood tidal gates issues have been attended to. The support system is also more coordinated,” he said.

But while the physical support system is ready, Mr Devadason is worried about the effects of a second wave on the people’s mental health.

“The emotional support must also be there. We need to provide encouragement and counselling to victims,” he said.

Datuk Seri Ismail said the task force, which would also oversee post-flood recovery activities, will be chaired by Chief Secretary to the Government, Tan Sri Mohd Zuki Ali.

"This post-flood work needs proper coordination as I don't want any delay in the implementation process, including in providing assistance to flood victims.

"We also need to be prepared for the second wave of floods, if it happens," Mr Ismail told reporters on Sunday after visiting the areas in Hulu Langat affected by floods, including Taman Sri Nanding and Kampung Dusun Tua where cleaning work was in progress.

A man pushes a trolley cart with his son and belongings, as others family members carry a mattress, after floods struck Taman Sri Muda, Shah Alam district, on Dec 21, 2021. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

Members of the task force, he added, would comprise relevant agencies including the armed forces, and would hold its first meeting as early as Monday.

Among the matters to be discussed and decided by the task force would be on the coordination in the implementation of processes such as the cleaning of affected houses and buildings, as well as the mechanism in ensuring the quick dispensation of flood aid to the victims.

Datuk Seri Ismail said data was still being collected on the total losses incurred in the floods in Selangor.

"We are still in the process of cleaning up, still studying (losses). Data is being collected. There will be an economic impact, but we do not know to what extent and we will wait for a report from the relevant ministry," he said, expressing his gratitude to volunteers, civil groups, members of the security forces as well as agencies involved in post-flood activities throughout the country.

"Our priority is to speed up the cleaning of their houses so that they (victims) can return home. If we do it together, this process will be faster."

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