By S.K. THANUSHA DEVI KUALA LUMPUR firstname.lastname@example.org
Mohamed Nazri Mohamed Nor, 39, cutting branches of an uprooted tree in his housing area in Jalan Ipoh, Kuala Lumpur. The tree fell during heavy rain on Sunday. Pic by Sairien Nafis
THE freak storms and heavy downpours which struck certain areas in the country is a wake-up call for Malaysians to brace for extreme weather.
The floods in the east coast and northern areas of the peninsula were expected, but it was out of the ordinary for the central region, said Centre for Environment, Technology and and Development Malaysia (Cetdem) executive director Anthony Tan.
He described the recent heavy rain in Kajang and parts of Klang Valley as the worst he had ever experienced in his life.
He said the recent extreme weather the country was facing was due to climate change.
“Malaysia has not seen the worst yet,” he said, referring to typhoons and floods which plague Bangladesh, Philippines and, of late, Thailand yesterday.
Tan said climate changes had affected rainfall patterns.
“The movie The Day After Tomorrow is a mild indicator as to what may happen next as extreme weather events are happening more frequently with devastating effect.
“Many development projects are being carried out from Port Klang to Gombak, and when it rains, drains would be clogged, thus triggering flash floods,” he said.
“It is a wake-up call to local councils to make sure the drainage system is clean and clear,” he said, adding that the country needs to invest in a proper drainage system.
The environment expert said proper planning in building construction was vital to prevent flash floods as low-lying lands would be more susceptible, leading to flash floods.
“We have to change the way we operate and construct buildings.
“The rumah Melayu was built on stilts for a reason. You won’t be much affected by the floods and can tie your boat to the stilts. It’s practical,” he said.
“It is also a matter of land use and choosing where and how to have development projects, especially when it comes to low-lying areas.”
He said Malaysians should understand the concept of global warming and climate change by now and prepare themselves for it.
Tan called on Malaysians not to panic at the current extreme weather pattern as it was a normal occurrence during the monsoon season.
A check at the National Security Council website saw the agency place Ledang (Johor), Manjung (Perak), Alor Gajah (Malacca), Sri Aman and Betong (Sarawak) on the flood watch list.
As of 4pm yesterday, flood victims at relief centres stood at 69 for Perak, followed by Johor (47), Malacca (19) and Sarawak (125).
Only two two relief centres are operating in Ledang, Johor, and one relief centre each in Alor Gajah, Malacca; Manjung, Perak and Sri Aman (Sarawak).