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Kelantan braces for floods

Priority for tackling Covid-19 threat at relief centres, says National Security Council

23 Sep 2020 / 09:48 H.

PETALING JAYA: It is all hands on deck as Kelantan prepares for an approaching storm and widespread deluge even as the country is still in the grip of a war against Covid-19.

Noor Fadhila Zakaria, an assistant director of the National Security Council in the east coast state, told theSun yesterday that priority will be given to efforts to deal with the Covid-19 threat at relief centres.

“We are ready to deal with this annual crisis. We will deal with Covid-19 in tandem with the flood situation. More relief centres will be made available to ensure social distancing.”

The north-east monsoon, which begins this week, is expected to bring torrential rains, gushing winds and thunderstorms across the country, with more precipitation in the evening or night.

For Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang annual heavy rains and floods are the norm. As usual, they will face the brunt of mother nature’s fury.

In 2014, Kelantan recorded its worst flooding, with many likening it to a “tsunami-like disaster”. It left 202,000 people displaced.

Fadhila said the most vulnerable areas are in the backwaters of the state such as Gua Musang and Kuala Krai, while areas such as Tumpat and Pasir Mas usually feel the effects of Sungai Golok overflowing its banks.

“In Kelantan, floods are an annual affair. We usually focus on these flood-prone areas, but sometimes residents do not want to move from their homes despite flooding.

“In such cases, we send them food and provide other assistance.”

The National Security Council in Kelantan will also liaise with other agencies and relief centres during the monsoon season.

The worst period, according to Fadhila, is in November and December.

“We will be working at full strength during this period. We are ready to send personnel at any time when the floods come.”

According to the Meteorological Department, the monsoon is also expected to hit rural areas in the west coast of the peninsula.

Parts of Sabah and Sarawak are also likely to be affected, and in some areas, flash floods could cause damage to unstable structures.

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