SONAMU is set to hit the East Coast, Floods imminient

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KUALA LUMPUR  –  THE authorities issued the highest level warning against coastal and off-shore activities in the South China Sea yesterday after a tropical storm was detected at 748km northeast of Dungun, Terengganu.

The Meteorological Department issued a third category warning, saying the storm was moving west-northwest when it was detected about 5pm.

“The strong northeasterly wind of more than 60kph with waves of more than 4.5m occurring in Kelantan, Terengganu, Samui, Condore, Reef North, Layang-layang and Palawan is expected to continue until Monday (today).

“Coastal areas in Kelantan and Terengganu are vulnerable to the rise in sea water levels.

“The strong wind and rough seas are dangerous to all coastal and shipping activities, including to oil rig workers,” the department said.

National Security Council (NSC) secretary Datuk Mohamed Thajudeen Abdul Wahab said government agencies were prepared to face any eventuality from the storm, including flooding, which was expected to hit Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang between today and Wednesday.

He said a special inter-agency meeting was held on Saturday, and they had prepared more than 5,000 relief centres which could cater to more than a million evacuees, and 480 forward bases in the three states.

“The agencies — the armed forces, police, Civil Defence and Welfare departments — have 28,922 members on standby with 1,863 lorries, 1,645 boats, 6,434 four-wheel-drive vehicles and 23 helicopters, besides other equipment.

“We have requested the agencies to increase manpower and logistics preparations at strategic locations near flood-prone areas.

“NSC is also working together with non-governmental organisations.”

It was reported that the NSC was on full alert as the tropical storm, blowing across the South China Sea from the Philippines, is forecast to hit the east coast.

The Meteorological Department warning stated the storm was expected to pose flood risks to low-lying areas in the three states.

The public can access the latest update on weather conditions on the department’s website at www.met.gov.my or NSC’s flood portal at http://portalbanjir.mkn.gov.my.  –  NST