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Decades of flood experience and we still can’t prevent it

The flood season is in full swing and we know this because the media goes on hyper drive covering stories about the flood, and rightfully so. The hardest hit states are usually Kelantan, Terengganu, Johor and Sabah. But this doesn’t mean that other states aren’t affected too.

The nation’s leaders have been making the obligatory visits to the flood-affected areas. This provides for really good photo opportunities of these leaders on rescue boats and visiting evacuees and victims.

Okay, I apologise. That was a cheap shot but I couldn’t help myself. It is good that the nation’s leaders visit those affected. But that is not the issue that I would like to focus on in this article. It is something else.

More importantly, the authorities have started preparing all the rescue operations. Evacuations are happening in the worst hit places and to date, we have seen almost 23,000 evacuees being brought to shelters. They are doing a good job.

In fact, they are doing an excellent job. They have all the equipment in place and the training that they have received is top notch. They know all the hotspots to head to first and they are on top of things.

Even the non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are well-prepared every year. They have identified all the evacuation centres across the nation and very efficiently predicted the number of victims that are affected in order to provide the necessary aid.

The experience the authorities and the NGOs have over the years have helped immensely. And this is the specific issue that I want to focus on in this article. The fact that the rescuers and the NGOs have so much past knowledge and data to prepare for the annual floods is of concern.

One would think that after the many decades of floods, we would be experts not just in the rescue and humanitarian aid department, but also in the flood prevention department...

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