Worst floods in Kelantan, confirms NSC

This aerial view shows houses and plantations submerged in floodwaters in Pengkalan Chepa, near Kota Baru, Kelantan on December 28, 2014. — AFP pic
This aerial view shows houses and plantations submerged in floodwaters in Pengkalan Chepa, near Kota Baru, Kelantan on December 28, 2014. — AFP pic

KOTA BARU, Jan 5 — The National Security Council (NSC) confirmed the massive flood that hit Kelantan was the worst in the history of the state.

Its secretary Datuk Mohamed Thajudeen Abdul Wahab said water levels of the recent floods superseded the floods of 1967.

According to the council’s report, the water level of Sungai Kelantan at Tambatan DiRaja, which has a danger level of 25 metres, reached 34.17 metres last month compared to 29.70 metres in 2004 and 33.61 metres in 1967.

The levels at Tangga Krai, which has a danger level of 5 metres, reached 7.03 metres compared to 6.70 metres in 2004 and 6.22 metres in 1967.

Thajudeen said the council identified two main reasons for the unprecedented magnitude.

“One is the changing climatic patterns and the adverse weather effects. Second,  could be the result of uncontrolled land management and the swelling number of trees and exploitation of land resources,” he said.

Thajudeen explained that disaster management is handled at three levels—district, state and federal.

“The front-liners will raise these matters to the state level if it is beyond their capacity, and it will then be brought up to the federal level if it is beyond the state’s capacity,” he said.

“In this case, the district office and the members of their own disaster committees were having their own problems. They were flood victims themselves.

“With the severity of the floods, there was no electricity and limited communication.”

According to Thajudeen, the council organised annual meetings before the monsoon season to strengthen standard operating procedures (SOP).

“Under the instruction of Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, we also prepared the SOP for extreme disasters,” he said.

“Unfortunately, I don’t think the SOP was fully adopted or applied in Kelantan because the teams in Terengganu, Johor, even Kedah, were well managed despite severe flooding.

“Based on our last post-mortem, we did increase the number of evacuation centres this year.

“But we did not have that problem in Pahang, Johor or Perak. The evacuation centres that we increased were able to cope and manage the large number of evacuees.”

Thajudeen explained flooding at evacuation centres in Kelantan had also made matters worse and evacuees from these centres had to be transported to other centres which were already accommodating more evacuees than its designated capacity.

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