Monday February 27, 2006
Residents rudely awakened by floodwaters
SHAH ALAM: Sunday is a day for sleeping in but not yesterday. Instead, the rest day turned out to be one of anxiety for thousands of residents here who were rudely awakened at dawn by floodwaters gushing into their homes.
Two hours of heavy rain since 3.30am had resulted in Sungai Damansara overflowing its banks and the waters inundating 3,000 houses. The worst affected areas were Taman TTDI Jaya, Kampung Melayu Kebun Bunga and Kampung Melayu Subang, Kampung Baru Hicom and Batu Tiga.
Evacuation began at 7.30 am and by press time, 9,015 people had been evacuated to eight relief centres. At the Kampung Kebun Bunga community hall alone, some 1,200 people sought shelter.
In many places, floodwaters hovered around 1m high. It rose to about 2.3m in a few areas, almost reaching the roofs of single-storey homes.
“The floods really caught us off guard,” said Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo, who added that he wanted a report on why the early warning system for floods was “not working well”.
Dr Khir said the state authorities reacted quickly to provide assistance to the victims.
Deputy Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Kong Cho Ha said the convergence of winds from the South China Sea and Indian Ocean at the Straits of Malacca – a rare occurrence – caused unusually heavy rain, not only in the Klang Valley but also parts of Perak, Malacca and Johor.
The Subang station recorded 118mm of rainfall at about 7am, almost double the usual rainfall of about 60mm recorded for a thunderstorm of between two and four hours.
A Projek Lebuhraya Utara Selatan Bhd (Plus) spokesman said thousands of vehicles were diverted to alternative routes after the 15th kilometre along the Federal Highway and the 9th kilometre of the New Klang Valley Expressway (NKVE) were flooded.
“At 4am, the water level had reached 1m high at the NKVE,” he said, adding that traffic flow only resumed at about 2.30pm. The Federal Highway was closed between 6am and 12.40pm.
According to the Drainage and Irrigation Department, four rivers around the Klang Valley had exceeded the alert and danger levels.
The level at Sg Damansara (at TTDI) reached 8.35m, exceeding the danger level by 1.05m, while Sg Langat (at Dengkil) was at 5.91m, exceeding the alert level by 0.21m. The level at Sg Kelang (at Taman Sri Muda) was 4.35m, exceeding the alert level by 0.25m.