Be prepared for bad weather, officials tell Johor residents
JOHOR BARU (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - People living in the east coast districts of Johor have been told to take precautionary measures with thunderstorms expected to hit the state within the next few days.
Johor Fire and Rescue Department director Yahaya Madis said this also included those living near coastal areas and rivers in Kota Tinggi and Mersing.
He urged the public in those districts to take safety measures and to always follow the weather reports to find out when a heavy rain was expected.
"People should always be prepared for any emergencies and they must adhere to instructions by the authorities as this is for their own good," he told The Star on Wednesday (Dec 22).
Datuk Yahaya added that people should check with the Welfare Department on where the nearest relief centres in their residential areas are located and evacuate immediately once the water level rises.
"Go immediately to relief centres instead climbing on top of a roof as it is dangerous and people could get stranded for a long time before being rescued.
"Only bring clothes and important documents such as your MyKad (identity card). And before leaving the house, make sure the main power switch is turned off and electrical plugs are taken out to avoid unwanted incidents," he advised.
On preparations in anticipation of floods, Mr Yahaya said the department has only allowed 20 per cent of its 1,300 personnel to go on leave at the present time.
"They can only go on leave within Johor as they will be called up at any given time to carry out rescue operations if floods hit any part of the state," he said, adding that the department has deployed three boats with nine firemen to help with the situation in Selangor.
The Malaysian Meteorological Department has issued a thunderstorm warning for Johor from Dec 22 - 28.
Johor Crown Prince Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim has also instructed all government agencies to be ready for floods.
He said that he has received reports of the weather forecast and water levels at several rivers in Johor.
Tunku Ismail decreed all district and government agency officers in the state ensure all machinery, equipment and preparations were on standby and ready to be deployed at any time.
"All government agencies need to always monitor the latest situation from time to time to ensure Johor is prepared to face any possibility.
"The related agencies must also inform the people with real-time info swiftly if anything happens," he said in a Facebook post on Wednesday.
Women, family and community development committee chairman Zaiton Ismail said the state government was looking at using mosques as alternative flood relief centres if floods were to hit Johor.
She added that presently, there were 722 temporary flood relief centres located throughout Johor but mosques near the affected areas would be the next option if the designated centres are packed with evacuees.
"The terrible floods happening in Selangor and other states have given the Johor government a heads-up to stay prepared.
"The state Welfare Department has been on standby as we head to the end of the year, where heavy rain typically occurs, to respond to any floods or other disasters.
"We have an adequate supply of tents, dried food and basic items such as towels and mats," she said.