Flood Havoc In Penang

Georgetown – FLASH floods hit many parts of Bayan Baru and Relau here yesterday, the worst to hit the two areas in recent years, making many roads impassable to light vehicles.

Caused by a downpour which started at 11am, some low-lying areas were knee-deep in water, resulting in many stalled vehicles.

The floods also caused a massive traffic snarl in the Bayan Baru township, home to one of the most densely-populated areas on the island.

A Bayan Baru resident, spice trader Faten Rafie, 40, said the flash flood occurred barely 30 minutes into the downpour.

“This is the first time in my memory that a flash flood of this scale hit our area. I was opposite Mayang Mall in Bayan Baru and the water rose quickly. I feel a new development nearby has caused this.”

A spokesman for the Jalan Tengah Fire and Rescue Department said one of the badly affected areas was in front of SK Seri Relau, which was inundated with muddy water. He said a van and a car were partially submerged in the floodwater. Fortunately, no one was injured.

Nearby Sungai Ara was also hit by the flash flood. However, many motorists were seen braving the floodwaters to reach their destinations, including sending their children to school.

Elsewhere, the densely populated high rise flats in Taman Green, Paya Terubong, near Air Itam here was also affected.

A man wading through knee-deep water was seen clinging on to a tree to prevent from being swept away. Several cars were also stalled at a traffic light junction near the flats.

Sahabat Alam Malaysia said poor drainage system was the cause behind the flash floods in these areas.

Its president, SM Mohamed Idris, said over-development on the island had accelerated the problem.

Meanwhile, three Rapid Penang bus routes — No. 301, 301E and 306 buses — from Weld Quay to Relau, via Sungai Nibong and Jalan Sungai Dua, were diverted due to the floodings. Rapid Penang Sdn Bhd communication department head Rafidah Abdul Karim said the detour was unavoidable due to the flash floods.

The perennial flash flood proved to be a slap in the face for former Komtar assemblyman Ng Wei Aik, who had then bragged that the Penang Pakatan Rakyat had managed to solve the problem on the island within nine months.

Ng, who is now Tanjung member of parliament, had put up a huge banner in flood-prone Jalan Perak with the message “40 Years Flood Solved in 9 months, in April last year.

Ng’s bragging had since gone viral on the Internet, including social network websites, after flash floods hit Penang many times after that. His remarks had also incurred the wrath of many netizens following the latest flooding.

Parti Cinta Malaysia vice-president Datuk Huan Cheng Guan got many likes and comments in his Facebook posting after he highlighted Ng’s claim.

At press time, floodwaters had receded in many areas and many residents as well as businesses were busy clearing the mess left by the floodwaters.

Local Government, Traffic Management and Flood Mitigation Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow said the flash floods might have been caused by a river diversion project in the Jalan Datuk Ismail Hashim and Jalan Paya Terubong areas.

He said, in a statement, that the state’s Drainage and Irrigation and Public Works Departments as well as the Penang Island Municipal Council had been directed to carry out remedial works.

“We will order the developer and the consultants to work out an immediate remedial plan.” – NST

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