GEORGE TOWN – The inability for flood waters to recede in central Seberang Prai has nothing to do with the water assets of the Penang Water Authority (PBA).
All the three dams in the state are functioning well despite the record rainfall, and there were no signs of seepage or intentional release of water.
Rather, PBA chief executive officer Datuk Jaseni Maidinsa said, flood waters had remained stagnant due to three external elements, although there was no major rainfall detected in the past 48 hours.
The first was that the Sungai Muda waters had broken through its embankments following the torrential rain on Sunday; secondly, the sea was experiencing high tides so the river waters cannot pass through and thirdly, there was this record rainfall levels which inundated Penang, southern Kedah and northern Perak.
There was also an incident where the pump house of the Drainage and Irrigation Department was swept away near Bukit Mertajam, making it difficult to remove the excess water in the area, he noted.
As for the PBA, the dams in Mengkuang, Air Itam and Teluk Bahang remained at manageable levels except for some natural overflowing due to the heavy rain, said Jaseni in an interview.
He also dismissed speculations that the Mengkuang Dam in Bukit Mertajam had discharged its water, saying the dam was only 20% full.
As of 5pm, the online portal of the national disaster coordination centre revealed that there were 5,031 people still stricken in 41 relief centres with the bulk coming from Penang, who has 4,589 while Kedah has 442 people.
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In another development, the Health Ministry’s director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, in a statement, said that there were adequate supplies of medicine provided to the victims of the natural calamity.
He also said that a team of four officers were also dispatched to provide assistance to those left stranded atop Penang Hill.
Northeast district police head Asst Comm Anuar Omar said that with the weather conditions improving, the police expect more people to return home soon.
In another development, the natural disaster aid organisation – Mercy Malaysia has deployed its volunteers and doctors to the floods’ scene.
A spokesperson said that among the first struggles they had endured was relocating the flood relief victims from the ground floor of SK Padang Menora in Tasek Gelugor to the first floor as flood waters began to seep in.
Mercy welcomes as many volunteers as possible to help in the relief efforts.