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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Chaos in KL after 5 hours of rain

KUALA LUMPUR: A five-hour deluge caused flash floods which wreaked havoc in the city last night.

Thousands of people were left stranded in parts of the city when Sungai Klang burst its banks around 9pm.

Dataran Merdeka, Kampung Baru, Masjid Jamek, Masjid India, Air Panas in Setapak, and the city side of Jalan Ampang were under 1m of water.

Two women were injured when they were trapped by the branches of a tree that fell near them after the downpour. Kamala Devi, 46, and her daughter S. Thanaletchumi, 20, were outside the Royal Selangor Club in Dataran Merdeka when the incident occurred at 11pm.

They were accompanying Kamala’s husband, the club’s chief security officer L. Selvarajah, 48, who was checking the building after the heavy rain.
Both women were trapped for half an hour while firemen cut through the branches to get to them.

Kamala broke her right hip while her daughter suffered minor bruises.

At a fast-food outlet in Jalan Tun Perak, two women and a man were injured when a passing bus sent the flood waters crashing into the outlet’s glass entrance at 10.30pm.

Several vehicles at the underground car park in Dataran Merdeka were submerged while the Putra LRT’s Masjid Jamek station had to be closed.

Even the Jalan Maxwell fire station in Sentul was not spared, trapping several members of the Fire and Rescue Department.

PM FUMES OVER FLOODS: Abdullah raps Drainage and Irrigation Department

KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has expressed dismay at the capital’s inadequate flood control measures.

He turned a few faces red when he rebuked the Department of Irrigation and Drainage (DID) for failing to deal with the rising waters that hit several areas in the heart of the city yesterday, despite costly projects such as the much-hyped RM1.93 billion Stormwater Management and Road Tunnel (SMART).

The department’s deputy director-general, Ahmad Fuad Embi, then fumbled as he tried to explain that the construction of the dual-purpose tunnel was on schedule and the rainwater channel was only projected to open by next month.

"Can you speed the work up?" a visibly displeased Abdullah repeatedly asked at the Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur briefing on the city’s flood preparedness.

"Mobilise all resources. River widening and building of water retention ponds must be given priority. Floods are no longer seasonal and can strike at any time," he said.
"Yesterday, rainwater rose 720mm, nine times the average rainfall of 80mm while 89 people from Kampung Periuk had to be evacuated. We may not be able to predict the next heavy rainfall but preparations have to be in place to prevent flash floods," he said.

Meanwhile, Federal Territories Deputy Minister Datuk Wira Abu Seman Yusop said the SMART tunnel could only divert excess water from the Klang river.

"We have started flood allevation projects for the Gombak, Batu, Sri Johor and Kerayong rivers," he said.

The Jinjang river retention pond to be completed last month but work has been delayed due to a "design dispute" and the new completion date is sometime next year.

from New Straits Times

This was just around the corner from my work. It's strange to see this happen quite easily right in the city like this. But then again, everyone does throw their litter down the water drains.

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