Number of flood victims in Penang rising

GEORGE TOWN: The number of flood victims in Penang as of 10pm rose to 3,779 people compared to 3,365 people this evening.

State Secretary Datuk Seri Farizan Darus said they were housed at 56 relief centres in five districts.

A total of 196 victims were sheltering in the Barat Daya district, Timur Laut (315), Seberang Perai Selatan (253), Seberang Perai Utara (851) and Seberang Perai Tengah (2,164), he said.

"Seberang Prai records an increase in temporary relief centres especially in Seberang Prai Utara with an increase from six to nine. Meanwhile, in Seberang Prai Tengah two more relief centres were opened, bringing the total to 23 centres," he told a media conference here tonight.

Almost the whole of Penang is affected by floods with several areas inundated under 0.2 to one metre, followed by strong winds and heavy rain since 2pm yesterday which also toppled dozens of trees.

Meanwhile, in BUTTERWORTH, about 6,000 police officers and personnel in Penang would help clean up the areas affected by floods including the houses of victims, mosques and other places of worships in the state.

Penang deputy police chief Datuk Roslee Chik said the clean-up operation would be conducted as soon as the floods receded.

He said this to reporters after visiting and handing over of food to 50 flood victims at the Sekolah Rendah Jenis Kebangsaan Cina Chong Hwa 2 hall in Taman Bagan, here today.

Currently, Roslee said police were monitoring and conducting a 24-hour patrol in all the flood affected areas in the state to prevent crime.

In addition, he said policemen were also stationed at congested roads and those roads closed to traffic to ensure smooth traffic and no untoward incident took place.

"Among roads which are still closed as of 8pm tonight because the water level is still between 0.5 and one metre are Jalan Seri Serdang-Taman Rupawan, Bertam Indah, simpang tiga Lahar Yooi-Padang Menora, Jalan Ara Kuda, Jalan Sungai Lokan-Sungai Dua, Jalan Permatang Pauh and Taman Bagan.

"In addition, Jalan Tok Kangar in Juru is also closed to light vehicles because it is still under water. The public is advised to obey police directives to ensure smooth traffic," he said.

Timur Laut district police chief ACP Anuar Omar said all routes to Bukit Bendera involving trains and tracks for vehicles have been closed due to landslides in the area.

Anuar said, according to the Bukit Bendera Corporation they were striving to repair the damages incurred with the help of other agencies.

"All movements to Bukit Bendera have been closed and is expected to take a long time to repair both the routes. The public is urged to comply with the closure," he said.

Meanwhile, Penang Education director Shaari Osman said work to clean examination centres was being carried out with the help of school authorities and cleaning companies today to enable the Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM) and Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) scheduled tomorrow, to proceed smoothly.

He said as of 9pm tonight, all venues were ready and the two examinations would be conducted as scheduled.

Only two examination centres will be moved because the water level is still at a level which makes it difficult for candidates to attend, namely, Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Mak Mandin, Butterworth near here where the candidates would sit for their examination at SMK Seberang Jaya.

"Meanwhile, candidates at SMK Jit Sin would sit for their examination at Sekolah Menengah Jit Sin Persendirian while Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan Cina Keow Keong would be closed tomorrow because the flood level is still high and dangerous," he said.

He said 2,232 STPM candidates would sit for the examination at 28 centres involving 2,004 government school candidates, private candidates (210) and 18 independent candidates while 23,114 candidates would be sitting for SPM at 159 schools including 250 private candidates.

Meanwhile, in GEORGE TOWN, Penang Umno Youth chief Rafizal Abd Rahim urged the Penang DAP state government to set up a task force quickly to study and implement a more systematic and planned drainage system to solve the flood problem which had become a monthly affair.

He also urged the state government to give appropriate aid to flood and storm victims.

He said the RM400 aid promised to families of flood victims in September and the exemption of water supply for November to those affected by the floods and storm must also be issued fast.

Strong winds and heavy rain in Penang since yesterday resulted in extraordinary floods in several areas, killing seven people while more than 3,000 were evacuated. — Bernama