GEORGE TOWN, Nov 5 — A total 2,861 people have been evacuated in all five Penang districts since 7.30pm yesterday following one of the worst floods to hit the island state.
State secretary Datuk Seri Farizan Darus said a total 51 evacuation centres were opened in all five districts.
“The earliest evacuation centre was opened in north Seberang Perai at 7.30pm and the latest one to be opened up is at Southern Seberang Perai at 11am today,” he said in a press conference at the state flood operations centre in Komtar today.
He said the number of victims he mentioned were only those who had to be evacuated but the actual number of victims affected by the floods are more than 2,861 people.
Three evacuation centres have been opened in the northeast district, four in the southwest district of the island, 25 in central Seberang Perai, 18 in northern Seberang Perai, and one in southern Seberang Perai.
He said the total workforce providing help on the ground, excluding workers from Penang Island City Council (MBPP) and Seberang Perai Municipal Council (MPSP), was about 850 people.
“We are also getting help from 170 army personnel from Penang, Sungai Petani and Alor Setar who have been deployed to help with rescue works in the northeast district, north Seberang Perai and central Seberang Perai,” he said.
He said state government opened its flood operations centre here at about 3.30am with limited workers as many could not get to the offices in Komtar due to the massive floods and road blocks caused by fallen trees and debris.
“As of now, we are arranging for food to be distributed to all the evacuation centres and victims in flooded areas but due to logistics issues, inaccessibility and supply issues as a lot of shops are closed, this may take time,” he said.
City Mayor Datuk Maimunah Sharif said 200 MBPP workers had been sent to help clear up the storm damages on the ground since 4pm yesterday.
“We have received 75 reports of fallen trees, 63 in northeast district and 12 in the southwest district, with more reports coming in as we speak,” she said in the same press conference today.
She said the focus now is to open up access of main roads, and debris will be cleared up later.
“We have cleared about 40 sites so that traffic can pass through, but all areas are not completely cleared of debris yet,” she said.
She said eight landslides have been reported in Jalan Bukit Baru, Jalan Tun Sardon, Jalan Teluk Bahang, Jalan Paya Terubong, Jalan Puncak Mutiara, Lintang Bukit Jambul, Cangkat Minden and Jalan Air Itam.
Landslides have affected about 16 locations along Jalan Tun Sardon.
Over in Tanjung Bungah, Maimunah said a new road that was constructed for a new housing project in Taman Ratu had caved in.
She said the project is still under construction and that no Occupational Certificate was issued for the houses yet.
“I have contacted the site engineer and architect to look into the site,” she said.
She also said their priority now is to clear all affected secondary schools in preparation for the SPM examinations tomorrow.
Local government, traffic management and flood mitigation committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow said a total 113 areas were hit by floods in all five districts of the state.
A total 37 areas are flooded in the northeast district of the island, 22 on the southwest district, 36 in north Seberang Perai, 15 in central Seberang Perai and five in south Seberang Perai.
He said the total rainfall recorded between 2pm yesterday and 5am today was exceptionally high, at 289mm in northeast district of the island, 237mm in the southwest district of the island, 372mm in north Seberang Perai, 327mm in central Seberang Perai and 165mm in south Seberang Perai.
Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said it was the highest rainfall to be recorded in the state within a span of 15 hours.
“We saw a total rainfall that is equivalent to one-and-a-half month’s rainfall within a 15-hour period,” he said.
Chow admitted that the state’s drainage systems and waterways such as rivers and streams were unable to accommodate this high amount of rainfall, thus leading to the floods in the state.