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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

One Reason Why the Authorities Failed in Flood Action Planning

Since the authorities are going to have an “inquiry” into the recent floods that have devastated Johor, here is one reason why the response by the authorities was inadequate and seemingly uncoordinated.

If you study the information available on this website, it would appear that the sensing equipment could not transmit any information as probably the electrical controls were too low or close to the danger level and were “drowned”. It is also possible that the whole station may have been destroyed by the powerful floods.

Some of these stations were built above ground example the one at Kota Tinggi but the floor appears to be only 4 feet above ground level. If we assume that the electrics are located about shoulder height maximum and standard non-watertight wiring, if the flood rises 8 feet above ground, that station is going to be knocked out and we have the useless -99.99 error message.

To prevent a such a situation from arising again, we need to erect these monitoring stations at least four feet higher than the maximum level of the latest floods.

One other important use of such a river monitoring system is that it can be used to check on the possible silting of the rivers.

For example if the rivers have been de-silted and we also record rainfall in the area, we can correlate rainfall and the river depths.

If the river becomes silted the depth will increase with the same amount of rain. Do we make such records and then propose a de-silting program say every 5 years?
The recent comment by the Johor MB indicates that we do no such thing as it was implied only flooding causes silting of rivers.

This flood disaster proves how important it is for the government to deliver basic services in an efficient manner so that people are properly taken care of rather than indulge in frivolous adventures like the “man in space” lark.

photo: thanks to http://infobanjir.water.gov.my/photos/jhr/jhr14.htm


Meng said...

Don't know if TPM Najib meant it to be a joke but he was quoted as saying in the STAR on Monday, "We will not leave the flood victims, high and dry...."

Perhaps that is the problem, they are now left "wet and flooded" with little help.

H J Angus said...

thanks meng for your comment.

It was an inappropriate phrase to use in this context.