28000 personnel on standby for floods

PUTRAJAYA: The number of personnel on standby to deal with the impending floods predicted to hit the nation between November and March 2012 has increased to 28,000.

Deputy prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin launches a portal for the floods, after a special meeting at Perdana Putra, Putrajaya. National Security Council Datuk Mohamed Thajuddeen Abdul Wahab is also present.

Last year a little over 20,000 personnel were dispatched to help Malaysians during the floods.

National Security Council chairman, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the 28,000 personnel were only from various agencies under the council, such as Rela, Civil Defense Department and the General Operations Force and did not include police and army personnel, although their leave has been frozen.

The number of police and army personnel are also expected to be increased.

The Meteorological Department recently said that the country is expected to receive 20 to 40 per cent more rain this year compared with last year, while a high-tide phenomenon is predicted to occur on December 25.

Muhyiddin also said assets such four-wheel drives, rescue boats, helicopters and generators among others were already placed at flood prone areas, while the Welfare Department has identified 5,156 evacuation centres that can house up to 1.4 million victims.

Almost half or 2,459, of the evacuation centres are schools, he added.

Supply depots has been set up in five regions along with 477 forward bases.

“Those residing in flood prone areas should be on the alert for warnings issued by the authorities.

“As flood waters are expected to rise rapidly and currents are strong, please do not wait until the last minute to evacuate. We would also want parents to be more responsible for their children safety and prohibit them from playing in the flood,” he told reporters after attending a special meeting on flood preparations, here today.

Also present was the council’s secretary Datuk Mohamed Thajudeen Abdul Wahab.

Muhyiddin, who is also Education minister, said that 414 primary schools and 96 secondary schools were at risk of being affected by the floods.

In such sites, halls for the Sijil Penilaian Menegah (SPM) and Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM) examination, he said will be located on the first floor.

Muhyiddin also said that 2,459 schools will double up as evacuation centres.
The government, he said would welcome the contributions by volunteers and non-governmental organisations, pointing out that aids in the form of assets, logistics, communication, food, medical aid and manpower were needed.

“We also welcome donations to the disaster fund by the public and private sector which can be channeled to the council’s Kumpulan Wang Amanah Bantuan Bencana Negara.

“The donations can be used to ease the financial burden of victims in repairing their houses,” he said.

Later, Muhyiddin launched the NSC Flood Portal which will provide constant updates such as weather predictions, road closures and river levels.

Readers can log on to http://portalbanjir.mkn.gov.my or visit www.facebook.com/informasibencana and www.twitter.com/@portalbanjir.

Mohamed Thajudeen later told the New Straits Times that 26 NGOs had already signed up as volunteers with more expected to follow suit.

“We are counting on them to be our extra help,” he said.

Mohamed Thajudeen said that the council is also coordinating with the Health Ministry and Information Communication and Culture to warn and advise the public on hygienic measures in view of possible water-borne diseases such as cholera and  typhoid.

He said that it was important for the council to ensure continuous supply of clean water.

“We will engage with mineral water companies so they can contribute and we have a stockpile, so when the floods occur we can distribute the water,” he said.

Article source: http://www.nst.com.my/top-news/28-000-personnel-on-standby-for-floods-1.6227

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