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Monsoon strikes again.

A family sits in a pergola surrounded by floodwaters in Pasir Mas in Malaysia's northern Kelantan state on Dec 21, 2022. (Photo: AFP)

Due to the monsoon season, at least five people have died in Malaysia and another 70,000 have been displaced by monsoon rains that triggered heavy flooding in the northeast of the country, state media said Wednesday.

More than half of flood victims at 58 per cent, were located in Terengganu, while Nadma reported 40% of victims are in Kelantan and the remaining in Perak, Pahang and Johor. The Ministry of Health (MOH) detailed the havoc caused by floods in the East Coast on public hospitals and clinics in Terengganu and Kelantan, bringing disruption to healthcare services at a critical period.

The sudden rise in water levels in areas surrounding Besut Hospital, Setiu Hospital, and Hulu Terengganu Hospital has cut off land access to the government hospitals that can now only be accessed via water or air transport. As for Kelantan, the Health DG said Raja Perempuan Zainab (HRPZ) II Hospital, a tertiary hospital under MOH, and Tengku Anis Hospital (HTA) in Pasir Puteh were affected by the floods.

Recently, the comments from MB Kelantan on the floods received backlash from the general public. Amar stated that the flood that the people in Rantau Panjang and Pasir Mas districts are currently experiencing is just normal flooding due to the rainy weather.

“The flood water will recede once the rain stops”, Datuk Amar said.

Mohd Amar. Photo credits: NSTP

While Amar is simply stating the obvious, he was criticised for his ignorance towards the real situation and suffering of people on the ground.

Actions taken by government

A total of 40 flood mitigation and environmentally friendly drainage projects are currently being and will be implemented by the Department of Irrigation and Drainage (JPS) in Kelantan and Terengganu.

Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change Minister Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad said the implementation of flood mitigation (RTB) projects will increase the number of people protected from the effects of previous floods. In Kelantan, two major RTB projects are under implementation, namely the Sungai Kelantan Integrated River Basin Development Project (PLSB), which has now reached 87.74 per cent physical progress and is expected to be completed on April 20 next year.

Adding on to that, Nik Nazmi mentioned a need for better transparency in EIA reports for environmentally risky projects

Recently, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim also gave his assurance that Phase 1 and 2 of the Sungai Golok Integrated River Basin Development (PLSB) project in Kelantan will be expedited, which is capable of reducing flood disasters and providing great benefits to residents. Putrajaya will allocate RM50 million each in aid to Kelantan and Terengganu after the east coast states were hit by floods, says Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim. These funds will be distributed in the form of “wang ehsan” (goodwill payments), Anwar told reporters in Pasir Mas, Kelantan. It comprises RM1,000 for each household evacuated to relief centres and RM10,000 for each family who lost a loved one due to the floods.

Malaysians stepping up to the occasion

Mercy Malaysia was also the only non-governmental-organisation to provide pyschosocial first aid through its Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Services at four centres in Tumpat, Kelantan and two centres in Besut, Terengganu.

Up to Dec 26, Mercy Malaysia said it had provided 4,156 personal hygiene kits, 100 dignity kits, 1,806 ready-to-eat meals and 1,019 non-food items comprising mats and blankets in Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang.

Lalamove, through its corporate social responsibility (CSR) programme Deliver Care, recently collaborated with non-governmental organisation (NGO) Hope Selangor to deliver groceries and essential items to families affected by flash floods around Peninsular Malaysia.

The Deliver Care programme, which aims to empower local communities to bring positive change, can be traced back to the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 when Lalamove began to offer free delivery of essential goods, especially to underprivileged communities.

Climate Change and the hit towards our economy

Monsoon Weather May See Malaysian Palm Oil Production Sharply Fall.

Monsoon season rains have caused significant flooding in Kelantan and Terengganu which account for 8 to 9% of Malaysia’s crude palm oil production. Heavy rainfall has been forecast for the nearby province of Pahang, which produces circa 30% of crude palm oil within Malaysia. If the flooding continues to occur, it may mean that the harvesting of palm fruit and the processing of palm oil is nearly impossible. This could cause December and January palm oil production levels to drop sharply. In this scenario, global palm oil stock levels would become tight in the coming months and may push prices up from current levels on the limited supply of the commodity

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