GEORGE TOWN: The major floods which have ravaged parts of Penang and Kedah have actually brought the people together in facing a common calamity, said Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein. Therefore, even in a tragedy of such magnitude where thousands are displaced, Hishammuddin, who is also Umno vice-president, said that people of different faiths and ethnicities were brought together in facing a common problem. "There are positive things to learn from this, as the floods do not differentiate the colour of your skin; whether you are rich or poor, or what is your religion," Hishammuddin said after handing out aid to the victims of the flood. As of 5pm, around 4,000 people remained sheltered in around 80 flood relief centres in mostly the Seberang Prai districts in Penang and in the Baling, Kuala Muda and Yan districts in Kedah. "What you see today, was that it has united the people in moving forward," he said. Hishammuddin also reserved his gratitude to the Armed Forces for giving their full commitment towards helping the residents cope with the rigours of floods. He said that the focus now was to start looking at the relief efforts and the aid that was distributed was meant to help the residents in the clean-up process for their respective areas. He also congratulated ATM for a job well done and commended their magnificent spirit. "On behalf of the people here, I wish to congratulate our troops for their commitment to helping the victims", he said adding that they have been on the ground since they were deployed early Sunday. Meanwhile, the Armed Forces chief Gen Tan Sri Raja Mohamed Affandi Raja Mohamed Noor said the military currently relies on the meteorological department to advise them on the weather patterns. "There are no special battalion or special units in the Armed Forces (ATM) who are weather specialists that can be deployed during natural disasters." "For the time being we don't have that kind of a special unit to advise us, I think the Meteorology's forecaster is the best department and it can be relied upon during calamities", he said when met at Taman Free School today. He was referring to complaints that the weather authorities were slow in relaying information about the rain which innundated Penang on Sunday. Raja Mohammed earlier accompanied Hishammuddin to visit the residents at Taman Free School in Jelutong, which is one of the worst-hit areas in Penang.