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Malaysia Set Up a Special Group to Work on Flood Recovery

  Malaysia Prime Minister Ismail said that the special group will have a meeting on December 27 to discuss accelerating post disaster reconstruction. According to the Meteorological Department, there may be another rainstorm in Malaysia this week, and the authorities are worried about another wave of floods.

  Ismail announced the special group to be responsible for flood recovery and prevention of the possible second wave of floods. The group will be led by the Chief Secretary, Mohd Zuki, and its members include the police, the armed forces and the fire department.

  Ismail said at a press conference after visiting the flood stricken areas in Hulu Langat, Selangor yesterday that the special group will hold its first meeting on December 27, and the top priority of agenda is to accelerate flood recovery. He said that according to the Meteorological Department, there may be another rainstorm in Malaysia in a few days.

Ministers abroad are instructed to return to Malaysia for flood recovery

  Ismail said that post disaster reconstruction is very complicated, including cleaning and maintenance, coordination with government agencies and non-governmental organizations, assistance and aid money distribution. He stressed that the matters to be discussed and decided by the special group include coordinating the cleaning of houses and shelters, and speeding up the distribution of aid. "I call on the relevant institutions managing financial assistance to simplify procedures and eliminate bureaucracy. The victims have been miserable. Don't disturb them any more."

  Ismail also said that after the severe flood, he instructed the ministers abroad to return home to fight the flood  in a difficult time. At present, two or three ministers have returned, and others are waiting for flights home. However, he did not disclose which ministers had returned home or which were still abroad. He revealed that he also instructed the ministers who had returned to Malaysia to be quarantined according to pandemic prevention regulations. He stressed that these ministers went abroad before the flood, and their itinerary has been shortened immediately when the flood happened. Some ministers are waiting for flights to return home. The Prime Minister said, "I was going to make a pilgrimage abroad in January next year, but now it has been canceled."

  The worst flood since 2014 occurred in Malaysia on December 17, and the number of victims once exceeded 610,00 on December 23. Eight of the nine states in western Malaysia have reported disasters, of which Selangor and Pahang are the most stricken states. The government rescue team was criticized for its late response at that time. Ismail admitted on December 21 that the government had some deficiencies in flood response, especially in dealing with the problems of Selangor, and there were also rescue delays, which were the responsibility of government departments.

  One week after the flood, Ismail ordered all ministers planning to go abroad to cancel their holidays on December 24. Ministers who have been abroad must return home immediately to help flood victims in trouble. He had also planned to visit Thailand from December 28 to 30, but his trip was canceled due to the serious flood.

  The Meteorological Department predicted on December 26 that there will be continuous rainfall. The Department of Irrigation and Drainage issued flood warnings to many areas of Kelantan and Terengganu. This shows that the second wave of floods may occur this week after the rare severe flood ever in recent years.

Pehang, Selangor, Kelantan, Sembilan and Malacca still suffered from the flood yesterday, with more than 33,000 victims.

  The Department of Irrigation and Drainage immediately issued a statement saying that according to the above prediction of the Meteorological Department, floods may occur in Kuala Krai and Gua Musang in Kelantan and Dungun in Terengganu on December 30 and 31. The Department reminded people to pay attention to keep informed of the flood warnings issued by the authorities.

  According to the information released by the JKM at 11 p.m. of December 26, five states such as Pahang, Selangor, Kelantan, Malacca and Sembilan still had floods yesterday. There are still about 30,000 victims in these States, from more than 9,100 families. The government opened 199 temporary shelters in the disaster areas. Among them, the most serious stricken area is Pehang, with more than 16,000 victims, followed by Selangor, with about 13,000 victims, and about 500 victims in the other three states.

  In terms of casualties and missing persons, police said yesterday that as of December 26 morning, 47 people had been dead and five were missing.