KOTA TINGGI – The Fire and Rescue Department (JBPM) will mobilise its personnel and logistic assets to states which have been badly affected by floods, said its director-general Datuk Seri Mohammad Hamdan Wahid.
He said currently, 12,500 members and officers from 320 fire and rescue stations throughout the country have been put on standby for deployment in case the flood situation worsens.
He said 220 to 280 land assets, 450 marine assets and five helicopters are also ready to be deployed at any moment.
“Looking at the current (flood) situation and if it becomes critical, leave will be frozen but we believe these 12,500 firefighters are sufficient to deal with the case,” he said at a news conference in conjunction with his working visit to the Kota Tinggi Fire and Rescue Station here today.
Mohammad Hamdan said the department has also identified assets from Negeri Sembilan and Melaka to be mobilised to the states affected by floods.
“We have outlined this strategy since October, besides cooperating with the Civil Defence Force, police and the armed forces,” he added.
He said bad weather conditions have caused floods in six states, namely, Terengganu, Pahang, Johor, Kelantan, Perak and Sabah, with 410 relief centres opened to accommodate 36,424 victims from 9,620 families.
Do not make own predictions
The department in addition, has reminded everyone to evacuate once they were told to do so.
Making their own predictions not only leads to the disruption of rescue operations, but the victims who were advised to evacuate during the day end up asking for help late at night or early in the morning, when it was difficult to get them out to a safe location.
Terengganu Zone 2 Fire and Rescue Department (JBPM) chief Azman Alias said when water rises and overflows, it is difficult to distinguish between ditches and drains and operations become more dangerous in the dark.
“We are aware that some residents here have moved twice (during floods in December) and are not comfortable being in the evacuation centre but for safety’s sake it is better to leave the house during the day.
“Firemen sometimes have to visit the same house two or three times… when trapped, residents panic and ask to be immediately rescued,” he told Bernama when inspecting the flood situation in several villages here.
Meanwhile, in the operation from 11 pm to 4 am this morning, a woman who was still in confinement with a 35-day-old baby was rescued following the water rising up to chest level.
The victim, Suhana Mat Sohor, 40, said she and her 11 family members were determined to move when the water started rising swiftly and entered the house at midnight.
“I did not expect the water to rise so quickly. Just managed to take only important items and documents … even did not have time to take my socks. In 2017, I spend my confinement at a relief centre when I gave birth to my fourth child, I never expected to be in the same situation for my fifth child,” said Suhana who lives in Kampung Tempurung here.
Besides Suhana, her mother Rahmah Sulong, 76, who has vision and hearing problems and is unable to walk was also assisted by firemen early this morning.
As of 10 am, Kemaman district recorded the highest number of flood victims in Terengganu at 5,368 people from 1,296 families in 21 evacuation centres
The overall number of victims in the state was 6,511 people from 1,623 families in 35 relief centres.