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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Floods hit Perlis, Kedah, Terengganu, force evacuation of 3,000


KUALA LUMPUR Nov 1 — Floods brought by overnight rain have caused the evacuation of more than 3,000 people in Perlis, Kedah and Terengganu by this evening and are threatening to force people out of their homes in Kelantan as well.

There are fears the situation may worsen because the Meteorological Services Department has warned of heavy rain until Wednesday.

In PERLIS, 1,096 people had been moved to nine relief centres and the six sluice gates of the Timah Tasoh Dam have been opened as the water level at the dam was high.

A spokesman of the Perlis Welfare Department flood operations room said the evacuees were taking shelter at Sekolah Menengah Datuk Jaafar Hassan, Sekolah Kebangsaan Batu Bertangkup, Sekolah Kebangsaan Titi Tinggi, MRSM Beseri and the Arau Civic Hall.

Batu Bertangkup Village Development and Security Committee Chairman Ali Ismail said five villages in the area — Kampung Sungai Buluh, Kampung Batu Bertangkup, Kampung Padang Melaka, Kampung Baru Panggas and Kampung Guar Medan Gatal — had been flooded since Saturday and the villagers were evacuated at 4am today when the Buluh and Batu Bertangkup rivers burst their banks.

"The villagers were ordered to move out after the road leading to the villages came under floodwaters up to waist level,” he told reporters at the Sekolah Kebangsaan Batu Bertangkup relief centre.

He said 10 four-wheel-drive vehicles belonging to the Perlis Four-Wheel-Drive Club were used to move the villagers while the Fire and Rescue Department and the Civil Defence Department used boats.

The welfare department provided mats, blankets and food to the evacuees at the relief centres.

Rokiah Awang, 70, a resident of Kampung Batu Bertangkup, had to be carried out by rescuers after the house where she lived with a son and a grandson was flooded this morning.

"The floodwaters at my house rose up to chest level. All the furniture was under water,” she lamented.

In KEDAH, 2,016 people in several districts were moved to 28 relief centres, with 1,449 of them from Padang Terap, 491 from Kubang Pasu and 70 from Kota Setar.

The penghulu (headman) of Mukim Tualak in Padang Terap, Sharizan Shaari, said 28 villages in the district had been flooded and the villagers were moved out from 7am.

He said affected villages included Mani A, Mani B, Mani C, Tanjung, Labi, Kuala Janing, Felcra Tualak, Bendang Raja and Padang Sanai.

"The number of evacuees may rise if rain does not stop by tonight,” he said.

Sharizan said the water level of Sungai Kuala Nerang had risen to 19.81 metres (danger level 17.07 metres) while those of three other rivers were at the alert level - Sungai Padang Sanai, 35.83 metres (danger level 36 metres), Sungai Kubu, 12.81 metres (13.02 metres) and Sungai Naka 31.82 metres (33 metres).

Kubang Pasu District flood operations room spokesman Fadzin Long said 342 of the evacuees were being housed at the Changkat Setoi village hall in Changlun. Some 133 were being put up at the Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Changlun and 16 at Sekolah Kebangsaan Malau, he said. In Kota Setar, Taman Indah village headman Shuib Mahmod said two relief centres had been opened at Sekolah Kebangsaan Gunung and Sekolah Kebangsaan Titi Gajah, and 76 people had been moved there, most of them from Kampung Lorong Pam Air and Alor Perang, Anak Bukit.

It is learnt that two main roads in Pokok Sena, linking the district with Kuala Nerang and Bukit Pinang, had been flooded in stretches and were closed to light vehicles, but there has been no evacuation of people as yet.

In TERENGGANU, the flood operations room was opened today following the evacuation of 85 people from three villages in Besut District.

State Security Committee Chairman Datuk Mazlan Ngah said the room was currently open only during office hours, but would operate round the clock when more than one district was affected by floods.

Mazlan, who is the State Secretary, said the state was bracing for floods worse than last year”s due to the heavier rainfall forecast.

He advised people living in low-lying areas to be alert and heed orders to evacuate and not let their children play in the floodwaters.

He also advised fishermen to exercise caution and listen to the weather forecast before setting out to sea.

In KELANTAN, there has been no evacuation as yet but the State Drainage and Irrigation Department has opened four district flood operations room and the State Operations Room to monitor the water levels of the main rivers, which were rising.

Department director Abu Bakar Mohd Yusof said 140 staff of the department had been placed on duty round the clock in stages in the operations rooms.

He said that as at 4.30pm today, the water level of Sungai Golok at Jenob was 23.84 metres (0.3 metre above the danger level) while at Rantau Panjang it was 9.29 metres (0.29 metre above the danger level).

He also said that several low-lying areas in Rantau Panjang town had been flooded and the Sungai Golok was almost overflowing following heavy rain upstream.

Abu Bakar said those who wanted information on the flood situation could surf the department”s website at www.infobanjir.gov.my or contact the department.

Bernama has learnt that several people in Kampung Tiong and nearby areas have begun to move their belongings and vehicles to safe areas.

In NEGERI SEMBILAN, Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil said the Welfare Department was ready to face any flood eventuality.

The department had made available relief centres at schools, community halls, surau and mosques, she said.

"All welfare department officers and staff have been placed on the alert and can be mobilised at any time. We will open the flood operations rooms once floods occur,” she told reporters after launching the Maybank-Money Tree Financial Literacy programme at the Tunku Kurshiah College in Seremban.

Shahrizat advised people whose homes had been flooded to evacuate immediately.

In KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysian Red Crescent Society communications manager Suhana Mohamed Salleh said the organisation was ready to render assistance in flood-affected areas.

"Our people are ready. We can also call upon our volunteers to help out if necessary,” she told Bernama(Utusan Malaysia)

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