PETALING JAYA: A climate change activist has estimated that losses in the recent floods could amount to at least RM20 billion.
He said the amount is based on estimates of damage to households and private property and damage sustained by businesses and industries including the destruction of shops, warehouses and factories.
Shaqib Shahril, formerly part of the youth group involved with a United Nations climate change convention, said that total losses from household damage alone may exceed RM1 billion.
He based his estimate on independent research into the financial outlook of the floods being carried out from December to February, and official welfare department data, which states that the highest number of families evacuated in six states was 19,711 families at 3.30 pm on Dec 21.
“Based on this, the losses are estimated to be RM985 million – almost passing the RM1 billion mark. It could be even higher because the actual number of families affected is unknown, as not all families would have gone to the evacuation centres.”
He said the flash floods in the Klang Valley has greater implications to the economy and the country’s GDP.
However, Shaqib stressed experts are still waiting for more complete data to extrapolate the real financial implications of the floods, as the monsoon season has not peaked.
“We are still waiting to see the impact of the final wave of the monsoon. The current situation is not just due to the monsoon but because of the effects from two typhoons. To make it even worse, the system at the National Disaster Management Agency is not working – they are lacking coordination.”
He said the government should undertake proper investment on prevention of natural disasters, estimated at about RM1 billion for industrialised areas such as Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Johor and others.”
He said, prevention could cover four basic factors: building water retention ponds, elevated areas, climate-resilient infrastructure and disaster risk management programmes, which includes awareness campaigns for community preparedness.