Monday February 27, 2006
Flood takes its toll on motorists
Stories and photos by DHARMENDER SINGH
THE authorities must come up with a better system to disseminate information to the public when roads have to be closed to traffic when floods occur, says Kinrara assemblyman Dr Kow Cheong Wei. It is all the more important when it involves highways such as the NKVE and Federal Highway as was the case yesterday.
“The parties concerned should use all available means, such as radio stations, to inform motorists of the closed roads as soon as they can,'' he said.
Dr Kow should know what he is talking about. He was among thousands of unfortunate motorists who were caught in massive jams along the highways and most parts of Shah Alam.
The flood, caused by heavy downpour for the most part of Saturday night and yesterday morning, affected thousands of residents in TTDI Jaya, Jalan Kebun Bunga, Kampung Landasan, Batu Tiga and around the NKVE, Giant hypermarket, Makro and Shah Alam stadium.
Many of them had to abandon their homes as early as 3am yesterday when the floodwaters rose to a metre high. They feared being trapped in the rising waters.
“I was told to head for the Bukit Raja toll plaza to get to Kuala Lumpur,'' he said. “But, I had to turn back from there to head to the Shah Alam Expressway, which was also inaccessible.
“So, I got stuck in Shah Alam for two hours, trying to get out from one place to another.''
Dr Kow said staff manning traffic at the flood-hit highways were ill informed. “They had no idea of the alternative roads motorists could take, leaving most road users angry and frustrated,'' he said.
Elsewhere, at Taman Mesra, Kelana Jaya MP Loh Seng Kok said more than 20 elderly women and 50 children were stuck in the upper floors of their houses by 1pm. They were awaiting rescue boats to evacuate them, he said.
“Water level was already about 1.7m high when the first reports came in at 6am. Even after eight hours, the level did not recede,'' he said.
Loh said Shah Alam City Council's director of operations for disaster committee Ahmad Zamri would send two boats to rescue the trapped residents. “The families will then be temporarily moved to the Seri Bukit community hall in Taman Mesra.''
Meanwhile, State Infrastructure and Public Utilities Committee chairman Datuk Fatah Iskandar attributed the flood to water from Sungai Damansara overflowing onto the Kuala Lumpur side after about 400mm of rainfall was recorded after only nine hours.
``By the time the water reached Shah Alam, the tide in the sea around Klang also rose and this caused the water to back-up and overflow onto low-lying areas in Shah Alam,'' he said.
Rainfall in Shah Alam itself was only about 90mm.
On residents' frustration over the Selangor Government's failure to address flood problems around Batu Tiga and TTDI Jaya after 10 years, Fatah said the state government had approved several flood mitigation projects in critical areas last week.
“Unfortunately, the flood occurred even before works on the project could start,'' he said.
Among the projects approved are a RM3mil pump system for TTDI Jaya, works to repair and raise the height of river bunds along Jalan Kebun Bunga (costing RM7mil) and the installation of a flood gate and widening of water channels along the NKVE to be jointly carried out by the Shah Alam City Council and PLUS.