281 flood-prone areas identified in Penang

GEORGE TOWN: The Penang Fire and Rescue Department has identified 281 flood-prone locations in all five districts in the state.

Penang Fire and Rescue Department director Saadon Moktar said the department was ready for the monsoon floods this year, with 1,701 personnel from 20 stations and volunteer fire brigades on standby.

“There are 86 hotspots in Seberang Prai Tengah, 56 in Seberang Prai Utara, 55 in Northeast, 49 in Seberang Prai Selatan and 45 in Southwest.

“Our preparations this time are better than last year’s, in line with the prime minister’s directive to face this year’s monsoon comprehensively.”

Saadon said the department’s assets were also ready — 24 marine vehicles (aluminium boats) and 55 multi-functional vehicles (towing vehicles, logistics transport and vehicles for evacuation).

“We have carried out training to strengthen special forces, namely the Multiskill Team (MUST) and the Special Tactical, Operations and Rescue Team (STORM).

“They trained from Sept 12 to today. Training for the water rescue team will run from Sept 19 to 23.

“We will conduct a comprehensive boat handling exercise involving 20 stations on Sept 29. These exercises are preparations to face any possibilities this monsoon season.”

He said Penang had been chosen as the regional forward base for the northern region to face the monsoon season this year.

“The northern region regional forward base, which will be at the Bandar Perda Fire and Rescue Station, will gather manpower and logistics for the northern zone.

“They can then be mobilised to locations affected by floods to ensure efficiency and that assistance can reach victims faster.”

Large-scale floods caused by continuous heavy rain have been forecast in the country from mid-November.

The Malaysian Meteorological Department had said the northeast monsoon would bring continuous heavy rain that could lead to major floods.

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