Malaysia: government to improve four areas in disaster relief management

The government is to improve four areas in the handling of national disasters such as floods, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said on Friday.

He said these were the early warning system, relief centres, food supply, and assets and logistics.

Muhyiddin said the early warning system must be improved to ensure that information could be disseminated to the public more effectively.

Secondly, the management of relief centres must be improved with the provision of additional facilities such as cooking area, clean water supply, toilets, space for special groups, sleeping area and prayer area, he said after chairing a special meeting of the Central Disaster Management and Relief Committee, here.

Muhyiddin said that thirdly there had to be improvement in the management of the food supply and stock reserve at relief centres.

Fourthly, ground, air and water assets and logistics must be improved for easy evacuation of people and distribution of food and other necessities, he added.

Muhyiddin said the National Security Council would update the standard operating procedure on handling floods to face extraordinary floods.

He also said the meeting decided that the before, during and after phases of flood management had to be improved.

This included the Social Welfare Department fine-tuning the management at the relief centres, identifying relief centres that can accommodate more evacuees and review facilities at relief centres to improve the comfort of the needy target groups, he said.

Muhyiddin said the department had been asked to look into the number of centres for storing food supplies, particularly in the flood-prone districts, raise stocks of food supplies at supply stores when anticipating floods and improve the system to despatch supplies to relief centres.

The National Security Council will study, update and increase disaster management assets at the rescue agencies, such as trucks and boats to evacuate flood victims and the sick as well as despatch food and other necessities to the relief centres,” he said.

For the long term, Muhyiddin said, the Department of Drainage and Irrigation (DID) had been asked to update the mapping on flood-prone areas in the country, particularly in cities and developing areas.

He also said that the flood mitigation programmes would have to be reviewed to reduce the incidence of flooding.

The DID and Department of Meteorology will improve the flood forecast and early warning system with reference to technology that is more sophisticated, fast and accurate and collaborate with regional and international organisations.

This is to ensure that the information can be relayed to the public more effectively, for example issuing warning via siren and SMS,” he said.

The deputy prime minister said the National Security Council would streamline the contributions from various quarters such as corporate bodies and NGOs so that the donations could be utilised during a disaster.

He said those keen on becoming volunteers could register with the council so that they could be mobilised immediately in the event of a disaster.

Muhyiddin called on the private sector to make available premises such as godowns or stores which could be turned into evacuation centres to reduce congestion at the usual relief centres.

He said emergency allocations would be provided at the district disaster management level to face extraordinary floods and meet urgent needs at that level.

He also said that the state disaster relief management committees and the district disaster relief management committees would pool the officers and staff of state and district agencies to help the flood operations machinery to manage relief centres.

Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Dr Ali Hamsa, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim, Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Rohani Abdul Karim and National Security Council secretary Datuk Mohamed Thajudeen Abdul Wahab were also present at the news conference.

Source: Urban Gateway.