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Foresight needed to minimize impact of disaster

  • We can no longer afford to wait for the unusual changes such as drastic rise in rainfall to take place before we would take any action.

Sin Chew Daily

The heavy downpour that descended on Penang over the weekend submerged many parts of the state, with some under 10 to 12 feet of water.

Thousands of affected households have since been moved to relief centers set up all over the state. And the sad thing is, the floods have claimed several precious lives this time.

In the face of a disaster of such unprecedented scale, the BN federal government and Pakatan state government have laid down their political differences to work together to help the victims.

Deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has instructed the national security council to coordinate with the defense ministry to mobilize rescue personnel to Penang.

The priority now is to ensure the safety of all the residents in the state and provide the necessary assistance to affected families as well as the post-disaster clean-up. At this moment, the victims require more than anything else the assistance from the relevant authorities.

This is the third time Penang has been hit by floods this year. All relevant parties must therefore look into this perennial problem seriously to actively initiate the necessary preventive measures so as to reduce the incidence of floods in future.

Even though the state has already kicked off its flood mitigation project, the latest disaster shows that there is an urgent need to expand and step up the efforts to control floods.

Other flood-prone areas in northern Malaysia must take the opportunity to start their own preventive initiatives to avoid possible floods as a result of unusually high rainfall.

Thanks to global climate changes, our rainfall and weather patterns have become unpredictable, and many countries and territories are susceptible to their threats.

Governments at federal and state levels must change their attitudes. They can no longer tackle the climate change issue with their old approaches or standards.

They must be equipped with farsighted visions and actions, and can no longer afford to wait for the unusual changes such as drastic rise in rainfall to happen before they would take any action. They must have all the preventive measures in place in order to minimize the impact of disaster.

Where this is concerned, the meteorological department plays a very crucial role. It needs to enhance its disaster warning system and prediction capabilities in order to issue timely warnings to affected residents and government agencies to better prepare them for the imminent dangers. This will effectively bring down the impact and destruction.

As mentioned earlier, Malaysia can never be spared from the scourge of climate changes. Most importantly, we must re-look into our flood mitigation preparations and draw up more comprehensive solutions to safeguard the lives and belongings of our people.

 

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