Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Crisis relief squad wants network of disaster management panels

The Star News Tuesday September 1, 2009

PETALING JAYA: MCA’s Crisis Relief Squad Malaysia chief Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun has called for the setting up of a disaster management committee in communities.

She said the committee is important as they would be the first to attend to emergency calls in case of a disaster.

“Only the local people know their areas well and be able to identify the shortest routes and safest places for evacuation,’’ she told reporters after attending a memorial service for victims of Typhoon Morakot at Chempaka Buddhist Lodge here yesterday. The storm had killed nearly 400 people in Taiwan.

The squad started its programme at Sungai Lembing in Pahang; Bukit Antarabangsa in Kuala Lumpur would be next.

Paying respect: Chew (second from right) attending the memorial service for the victims of Typhoon Morakot at Chempaka Buddhist Lodge in Petaling Jaya.

Chew, who is also the Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister, said the committee’s role is to find out the locations of police stations, hospitals, Fire and Rescue Departments and organisations that could help during emergencies.

The committee also has to identify which groups of people need the most assistance in the vicinity and the areas that are safe for evacuation.

Its job is also to find places where clean water, food and other resources are available, said Chew, adding that the committee hoped to get the participation of the Rukun Tetangga and Village Security and Development Committees.

On activities in Sungai Lembing, Chew said the team is gathering feedback on a flood mitigation project.

She said experts from the technology and disaster prevention centre in Taiwan had drafted a report after a three-day visit to the area.

A full report would be handed to the state and relevant ministries for further action, she added.

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