Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Douglas Uggah Embas (centre) flanked by State Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah and Deputy State Secretary Datuk Jaul Samion during a press conference at Wisma Bapa Malaysia, Petra Jaya. (pix by Adib Povera)

PETRA JAYA: Sarawak is expected to receive heavier showers in the next five months following the arrival of the northeast monsoon in the state since Monday.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Douglas Uggah Embas said based on the weather forecast from the Meteorological Department, there will be heavier rainfall in the state from Nov 13 until March next year.

Douglas, who is also the State Natural Disaster Management Committee chairman, said the state government has decided to increase the number of rescue workers by 4,000 people to prepare for any possibility of floods.

“The number of rescue officers and workers has been increased to 21,188 people compare to 17,097 people this year.

“The rescue workers comprise personnel from the Armed Forces, Civil Defence Force, Fire and Rescue Department, police, People Volunteers’ Corps, Welfare Department, and State Health Department,” said Douglas after chairing the committee’s meeting at Wisma Bapa Malaysia on Tuesday.

State Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah and Deputy State Secretary Datuk Jaul Samion were present.

Douglas also said a total of 1,089 assets are at the committee’s disposal should the wet spell worsens and triggers floods.

The assets, he said, comprises five helicopters, 205 lorries, 472 four-wheel drive vehicles, 290 boats and 117 ambulances.

“The State Welfare Department is also on standby and ready to activate 610 flood evacuation centres statewide.

“We have also appointed 165 logistic suppliers, who promised to give the best response time in the event of natural disaster,” he said.

At the grassroots level, Douglas said the state government has instructed residents, offices and flood operation centres to be ready at all times.

To ensure better communication between rescue workers and people in the interiors, the state government has also provided rural folks with amateur radios for both parties to keep abreast on the situation on the ground.

Douglas said the committee is closely monitoring the weather patterns with the Meteorological Department and state Drainage and Irrigation Department.

“If you look at the previous floods incidents, flooding does not occur at the same spot every year.

“Whatever it is, we have prepared to face any turn of events,” he said.

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