100 air raid sirens for flood warning

KUALA LUMPUR: The 100 air raid sirens that can be used to warn people of impending natural disasters like floods or tsunami will be revived by the National Agency for Disaster Administration (Nadma).

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the government agency had procured not fewer than 100 sirens which come with an automatic switch.

"We are reviving it under Nadma. These sirens used to be under the police force.

"The procured sirens are very loud as its sound is capable of reaching between 2km and 2.5km radius," he told theSun during an interview today.

Stating that the cost of the sirens was not very high, Ahmad Zahid also confirmed that the sirens have been installed at districts around the country which have been identified to be flood-prone.

Ahmad Zahid, who also chairs Nadma, said the agency is working closely with the Malaysian Meteorological Department (MetMalaysia) with regards to flood warning systems.

"They have these flood alert warning systems which (warn them) of potential floods three days, five days or seven days before it occurs," he said.

Despite having the warning system, Ahmad Zahid admitted that those in charge of the flood warning systems in Penang were caught out due to the unexpected weather pattern.

"They were caught by surprise. They were not ready at all because of the (predicted) cyclone at the northern area close to Penang but it never happened in the area.

"I think the prediction is just a prediction. Sometimes divine intervention cannot be predicted," he said.

On allegations by Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng that MetMalaysia had blatantly delayed warning them about the impending floods, Ahmad Zahid denied it, saying that warnings were given but the state's chairman for the disaster management committee did not act upon it immediately.

"When Lim called me at 3.30am, he didn't know that the Nadma team was already there at 1.30am," he added.

During the Sept 15 flooding episode in Penang, the flood warning siren was reportedly heard in Batu Ferringhi which warned residents that level of the Sungai Satu's water was rising.

However, the weekend of Nov 4 and 5 saw the island state hit by flash floods, displacing over 6,000 people and claiming seven lives.