Help arrives in flood-stricken Taman Sri Muda, but too late for some

A battalion of rescue personnel were mobilised in Taman Sri Muda, Shah Alam today but with three bodies recovered there, questions are being raised whether help to one of the worst-hit areas in Selangor arrived too late.

Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican said a total of 321 personnel from the Fire and Rescue Department, army, police and other agencies were sent to the area.

This includes deploying 41 rescue boats to the area, not including those from non-governmental organisations.

The minister, however, said rescue efforts have been quite difficult and also added some had refused to move to evacuation centres fearing Covid-19 infections.

Kota Kemuning assemblyman V. Ganabatirau said the situation in the area was “no longer an ordinary flood” as bodies had been found.

“We are only today seeing more army and fire and rescue department personnel in the area and it appears more systematic with an operations centre being set up,” he said.

“Many people are still trapped. We need food, towels, sanitary pads and diapers… we need help,” he said in a video that was published on his Facebook page this afternoon.

The devastation in the area, one of the worst-hit in Selangor is beyond words. Victims had been trapped in their homes for more than two days. They included pregnant mothers, children including babies and the elderly.

Many were forced to climb up to their roofs, to wait for help to arrive. Hours passed, and with help nowhere in sight, things began to look bleak, with food supplies running low, no potable water, baby formula, and diapers.

“Everything is gone but aid is only coming now,” said an aide from Ganabatirau’s office who requested anonymity.

“People have been stranded in the last two days and they have been texting us to get them out. We were only able to send their details to the rescue team (comprising mainly volunteers and those with boats) but we have not received information on whether they had carried out their missions successfully.

The aide added: In the last two days, there is no clear directive or command given on how the rescue should be done. We are talking about 16,000-17,000 people.

“The number of victims is increasing. Even getting caterers to prepare food for those who have been rescued is an uphill task with many shops in the area being forced to close down as they were affected by the flood,” the aide added.

Three temporary relief centres had been opened to flood victims in Taman Sri Muda with another three being prepared to accommodate more evacuees.

Meanwhile, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the ministry expects an increase of Covid-19 cases at relief centres nationwide following the floods.

Khairy said as of 11 am today, 181 positive cases were detected at relief centres involving 117 in Selangor, Pahang (52), Kelantan (6), Kuala Lumpur (4) and one each in Negeri Sembilan and Melaka.

In the Dewan Rakyat, opposition MPs were riled up after Speaker Tan Sri Azhar Azizan Harun disallowed the elected representatives to discuss on the flooding on grounds that he did not have the power to allow the debate from taking place as the matter was not listed in the order paper.

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