KUANTAN: The recent Selangor floods are an experience that can serve as “a lesson in disaster management” so that weaknesses can be improved, said special functions minister Dr Abdul Latiff Ahmad.
Latiff, who heads the National Disaster Management Agency (Nadma) said this includes how to manage flood situation in high density residential areas where flooding is a rare occurrence.
“We learn from mistakes when managing floods … when the meteorological department issues a warning, we hope all parties can take heed,” he told reporters after visiting flood victims housed at Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Bukit Rangin here, today.
Latiff said weather warnings should be issued regularly, such as the yellow alert of the continuous rain expected in Tawau, Sandakan and Kudat on Dec 27 and 28, which should continue until the end of the northeast monsoon season.
On requests for compassionate aid, Latiff said applications would be processed as soon as possible, adding that they would be completed within a few days provided that all necessary documents were provided.
He also urged all disaster operations control centres to immediately submit the list of damaged infrastructure caused by the flooding so that repair works can be expedited.
Meanwhile, Nadma has denied allegations made by Segambut MP Hannah Yeoh regarding the closing date for compassionate aid to heads of households affected by the floods.
Nadma, in a statement tonight, said the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) referred to by Hannah were old guidelines, adding that it was no longer applicable following the prime minister’s announcement about the aid.
“This directive is also extended to all state governments. Hannah Yeoh’s claim that there is a closing date for aid applications is untrue as disasters are unpredictable events,” the statement read.
On Dec 21, Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob decided that heads of households affected by the floods should receive aid each time they are struck by disaster.
Previously, aid was granted only once during the declared disaster season. According to Nadma, as of today, RM26.9 million has been channelled to 11 states for aid payment under the first phase.