KUALA LUMPUR: A full alert has been put out for more landslides with the rain continuing to pound away with greater intensity.
Experts are already expecting the number of landslides this year to exceed 100, which is the average figure to hit the country yearly.
With heavier rainfall expected right through to January, the people are being forewarned and told to prepare for the worst.
A dangerous slope at Bukit Antarabangsa, Ampang is being monitored for possible signs of a landslide. The area has been prone to landslides in the past.
The Works Ministry, on its part, is conducting a public awareness campaign to highlight the danger signs.
This includes carrying out “full alert” advertisements in the major newspapers.
Minister Datuk Seri Shaziman Abu Mansor said the objective was to “avoid what can be avoided.”
Slope watch on PJU 8/1. There is a grave concern over the stability of slopes due to heavy rainfall.
“We are expecting more landslides with more rain but we must prevent more casualties. We need to be alert and look out for the warning signs and symptoms,'' he told The Star.
“Slanting trees, cracks on slopes, floors and walls are some of the signs of an impending landslide. There is no point taking action after a disaster takes place. We have to act now before it is too late. There should not be more fatalities,” he added.
According to the National Slope Master Plan (NSMP) 2009-2023, Selangor and Federal Territory have experienced the most landslides since the 1970s followed by Pahang, Penang and Sabah.
High-risk areas with a history of landslides include Ulu Klang, Cameron Highlands and Lojing.
Stressing on the importance of protecting life, Shaziman said some had not taken heed of the warning signs.
“For example, there are those who have noticed trees slanting on the slopes near their building. But instead of alerting the authorities, they just chopped off the trees and not long after a landslide hit and people died.
“Inform the authorities when you see such symptoms even if you do not live in the area,'' the minister advised.
Landslides are a frequent occurence in the country with over 600 deaths recorded since 1961. The last major landslide fatality happened in May when 16 people, mostly children, were killed at an orphanage in Hulu Langat.
The highest fatality for a single landslide was recorded on Dec 26, 1996 where 302 people were killed when debris flow caused by tropical storm Gregg wiped out several villages in Keningau, Sabah.
According to the NSMP, economic losses from landslides totalled almost RM3bil from 1961 until 2007.
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