Can nothing be done to prevent annual floods?


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Can nothing be done to prevent annual floods?
By Zan Azlee

The flood season has begun. The news now will be rife with stories about how the water level in key rivers are starting to rise to dangerous levels. Some areas are already seeing slight flooding.

The country will now turn on it’s flood mode. The authorities will start preparing for evacuation centres to be set up. Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and corporates will start planning and collecting food and other essential items to be donated.

Recently, Datuk Seri Rohani Abdul Kassim, Minister of Women, Family and Community Development, through the Social Welfare Department, announced that they have listed 5152 evacuation centres all around the country.

She also mentioned that the department has increased the stockpile of food that they have so that potential evacuees will be able to have sufficient nutrition when they have to leave their flooded homes.

The different aid distribution depots around the country – from Kedah, Kelantan, Terengganu, Selangor and Johor – have also been identified and it looks like all disaster relief planning is going as planned.

Well, that’s definitely a relief to hear. It’s all good, but what bothers me is the fact that so much planning goes into relief efforts and yet nothing goes into the planning of flood prevention that happens every year for so many decades.

You would think that after all these decades of experience, we would have came up with at least some semi-decent preventive actions that can reduce the occurrence of this natural disaster that killed people on a yearly basis.

But it seems that year in and year out, the same things happen over and over again. It either shows that we are too lazy to think of a solution or we’re just incapable of thinking of a solution altogether. Which one is it?

We can think of amazing engineering feats to build all kinds of roads, highways and flyovers in our big cities to ease all the traffic woes that plague us. Yet, we can’t think ways to stop rivers from overflowing and killing people?

We can spend so much on assembling thousands of people together to break records by being the largest circumcision gathering, or the largest number of people planting trees. Yet, we can’t get as many people to brainstorm over a solution to the annual floods?

Come on Malaysians. I would like to believe that we’re a smart country of a people. If we can’t rely on the authorities to come up with solution, I’m sure together, we can all think of how to prevent the floods on our own.

And you know what? I’ve also realised that for the past four years (about half the total number of years I have been writing my column at The Malaysian Insider), I have written about the floods in Malaysia consistently every December.

So it seems that year in and year out, the same things happen over and over again. And just like the floods, it seems like there is nothing coming out of this. What do I expect? That my writing can change the world? I guess not.

Of course, I’m not delusional thinking that my writing can bring a lot of difference. What the real hope is that the suffering of the people who have to go through the floods every year would make other people want to make a difference.

[This article originally appeared at The Malaysian Insider]

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