|People wade through a flooded street in Kota Bharu, Malaysia [AP]
Over the last several years, the world has had a front seat to the devastation that severe flooding can cause, with Thailand and southern Pakistan being the two most infamous regions affected.
Hoping to be more proactive as it enters its rainy months, Malaysia has been readying itself for an above average season. The Malaysian Meteorological Department is forecasting that the country could expect an increase of 20-40% more rain as compared to last year.
The Malaysian states that are expected to be hardest hit are Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang, Perak, Perlis, Kedah and Sabah which are to the south of Thailand. In addition to flooding rains, the meteorological department is expecting a high tide phenomenon on 25 December which would enhance the flooding along the coast.
Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has launched the National Security Council (NSC) Flood Portal which will provide local residents with constant updates on weather forecasts and river levels. The goal is to keep the public well aware of imminent dangers such as flash flooding.
Over 25,000 people in the Civil Defense Department and General Operations Force have been placed on standby to deal with the expected emergency that is expected to extend from this month into March of next year. The number of policemen and soldiers that will be deployed will also be increased to help deal with the floods.
Deputy PM Muhyiddin, who is also the Education Minister, has done a preliminary survey of the most flood susceptible schools across the region and has instituted relocation plans in advance. The health ministry is also planning well in advance by educating the public on possible effects of waterborne diseases and the hygienic measures to combat them.
During the upcoming months it is not uncommon to normally see monthly rainfall amounts of up to 300 millimetres. But with this active season expected, totals could now reach closer to 500 millimetres.