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Operation Update Report Malaysia: Floods Operation update n° 2 (DREF n° MDRMY004)

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Description of the disaster

Heavy rains continued in Malaysia since the rains began to make its mark in the northern states of the western peninsula from the end of November 2019. At the end of November 2019, water level rose in some rivers in Kelantan and Terengganu. On 29 November 2019, Sungai Golok at Jenob Tanah Merah and Sungai Lebir in Tualang Kuala Krai breached its warning level respectively1 . As for Terengganu states, the levels of three rivers in Setiu and one in Besut namely Sungai Nerus in Kampung Langkap, Sungai Setiu in Kampung Besut, Sungai Chalok in Chalok Bridge and Sungai Besut in Kampung La had breached the danger point.

The flood caused massive chaos and disturbance in East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia. More than 15,000 people have been evacuated into designated relief centers in Kelantan and Terengganu on 3 December 2019.

The Pasir Mas district in Kelantan is the worst affected district with almost 2,000 families evacuated to evacuation centers. The district remains to be accessible only to watercrafts. The Malaysian National Security Council (NSC), the National Agency for Disaster Administration (NADMA) and the District Offices in the respective affected areas were coordinating the evacuation activities with the support of the Malaysian Fire and Rescue Department and Malaysian Civil Defense Force or ‘Jabatan Pertahanan Awam Malaysia’ (JPAM).

Based on the local newspaper, The Malay Mail, the water level receded and most of the evacuation centers were closed on 5 December 2019. Since then, most of the families has returned to their homes and some are living in their relative’s house. Malaysian Red Crescent Society (MRCS) was monitoring the situation, and the second wave expected in the end of December 2019 fortunately did not exceed any danger or warning levels. The rapid emergency response including evacuation and support activities by the Government of Malaysia, MRCS and other stakeholders was effective for the affected communities to survive during the time, but the damages caused by the flood has left the communities in a critical situation with persisting needs and priorities for early recovery and returning back to their day to day lives.

Summary of current response

The MRCS along with IFRC Asia Pacific Regional Office (APRO) are closely monitoring the situation and coordinating with the Government of Malaysia (GoM) at national and district levels. MRCS volunteers in branches throughout the affected areas have been active since December 2019 and throughout the operation. For instance, the Kelantan branch of MRCS activated its preparedness plan which it had developed following a disaster management training facilitated by the IFRC in May 2016 with funding support from the Office of United States Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA). In addition to the training, the branch had also been equipped with a rescue boat. When early warning advisories were received from the Malaysian Meteorological Department, Red Crescent volunteers were placed on standby for response and following the initial flooding in Kelantan, the MRCS branch deployed its boat to support search and rescue efforts alongside the government’s Special Malaysia Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team (SMART).

MRCS mobilized 50 volunteers from its branches for the needs assessment, supported by three rescue teams from the national headquarters.

The MRCS Kelantan branch has setup three mass cooking units in three evacuation centres in Pasir Mas, Bachok and Kuala Krai. The mass cooking unit complements the Social Welfare Department of Kelantan’s programme at the evacuation centres. In Terengganu, namely in Kampong Bukit Tadok, Hulu Terengganu, the Community Based Action Team (CBATs) supported by the MRCS volunteers are engaged in rescuing villagers from flooded areas and relocating them to evacuation centers.

On 10 December 2019, joint assessment team of 19 from MRCS included two officers from IFRC Asia Pacific Regional Office (APRO) were deployed to Kelantan and Terengganu. The purpose of the mission was to conduct needs assessment of the flood affected population on the recent floods, conduct cash feasibility study and market analysis.

From 7 to 15 January 2020, MRCS together with two Regional Disaster Response Team (RDRT) members conducted a field visit to Terengganu and Kelantan to effectively coordinate internal and external stakeholders. The meeting with District Office, Social Welfare department, village leader, village committee and community members were organized to confirm the needs assessment results, identify target areas, inform the communities and start the process of beneficiary registration and verification.

MRCS has developed a detailed encashment plan, prepared key messages and IEC materials to be used during information sharing sessions with the communities and set-up focal points in each state for receiving and registering their feedback. There are active staffs and volunteers appointed as focal persons for the DREF operation.

Overview of Red Cross Red Crescent Movement in country

The IFRC Asia Pacific Regional Office (APRO) in Kuala Lumpur doubles its efforts as the country team for support to Malaysia. Its international and national staff specializing in various programming sectors and support services is supporting the MRCS response. The Disaster and Crisis Unit of APRO has one team member dedicated fully to support the Disaster Management department of MRCS in operational planning and coordination. Two RDRT members (Community Engagement and Accountability (CEA) and operations support/CASH) were deployed to MRCS to assist the operation; where CEA RDRT is deployed for 18 days and Operations support/CASH RDRT for a period of one month. IFRC and MRCS coordination meetings were organized on a regular basis to ensure the operation is being implemented as per the Plan of Action.

Overview of non-RCRC actors in country

NADMA, Malaysian Armed Forces, Royal Malaysia Police and other local government agencies have conducted evacuations, established emergency shelters, operationalized evacuation centers and continue to provide relief assistance to affected families. The authorities have deployed the Special Malaysia Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team (SMART) in the affected areas to carry out search and rescue operations in highly inundated areas. Furthermore, the relevant District Offices are coordinating all humanitarian activities at district level working closely with NADMA, Malaysian Civil Defense Force, Malaysian Armed Forces and Royal Malaysia Police in these affected areas. In accordance with the Policy and Mechanism of National Disaster Management and Relief set out by the National Security Council (known as Directive No. 20), the District Offices are responsible in evacuating the flood victims to evacuation centers while other agencies and voluntary bodies, including the Malaysian Red Crescent Society, have roles defined in relief and recovery efforts. As of January 2020, the Social welfare department and district offices registered the flood affected population in the affected areas.

NGOs and NPOs that provided assistance in Terengganu and Kelantan are the following:

• Institut Modal Insan Terengganu Sejahtera (IMIT) – supported the clean-up of the houses.

• Unit Amal Malaysia – cleaning houses and relief operation.

• Mercy Malaysia – donated 83 hygiene kits, support the cleaning of schools after flood.

• Coca Cola – distribute mineral water to JPAM office.

• Rescue Bencana Malaysia – rescue and relief operation, in-kind distribution.

• 3rd Force – in-kind distribution and repair works.

• University student from Universiti Malaysia Terengganu and Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin – helped in registration at evacuation centres and relief distribution.

As of 31 January 2020, there is no other NGOs or NPOs planning to organize response activities. The Government of Malaysia is planning to organize cash distribution for the affected population, however the details of the program have yet to be finalized. Malaysian Red Crescent has informed and coordinated with the local government and social welfare department about the MRCS target locations, beneficiaries to avoid duplication of efforts.