By Ika Koeck, IFRC
In December 2014, the seasonal flooding in Malaysia has forced more than 200,000 people from their homes and left at least 10 people dead, making it the country’s worst flooding in decades. Unusually heavy rainfall and strong winds have exacerbated conditions, affecting several districts primarily the Terengganu, Pahang and Kelantan states in the East Coast, and one state in East Malaysia (Sabah). Until now, more than 100,000 individuals are left stranded without supplies, electricity or cash to buy necessities such as candles, blankets and baby kits as rising floodwaters cut off all land transport in most parts of the state.
Efforts to reach stranded victims are hampered by the lack of boats and helicopters, while major roads and highways have been inundated since mid-December. A majority of houses and buildings in the affected states remain submerged, forcing thousands to remain in evacuation and relief centres. In response to the floods, the Malaysian Red Crescent Society (MRCS) is supporting the Malaysian government by providing hot meal distributions and inter-agency boat rescue operations in several affected districts in Kelantan.
As of now, MRCS has mobilized 200 volunteers from its Kelantan branch, and an additional 100 volunteers from the Pahang branch, with the support of six rescue teams from MRCS national headquarters. MRCS has also launched a national campaign for the floods operation called Ops Banjir BSMM Prihatin to facilitate donations. To aid in the relief efforts, the Red Cross Society of China made a contribution of USD 100,000 while Singapore Red Cross contributed approximately USD 170,000. Meanwhile a contingency plan placing MRCS branches in non-affected areas on standby have been activated by the national headquarters.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is preparing a Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) amounting to CHF 82,964 (approximately USD 83,000) to support 25,000 (5,000 families) for a period of one month. The DREF will fund the distribution of 10,000 blankets for 5,000 families as part of the overall operation.