The Environment and Water Ministry secretary-general Datuk Seri Dr Zaini Ujang has said that the National Flood Forecasting and Warning System (PRABN) will be fully operational in 2023.
According to Zaini, the system covers the entire country and incorporates real-time data from various close-circuit cameras and multimedia devices placed at strategic locations like river basins in the states.
With this, the system will give a warning by sounding a siren as early as 2 days before flooding occurs, in addition to forecasting floods seven days before they were predicted to occur.
“With the improved system, the PRABN will be able to forecast floods seven days before and give warnings to the people affected and related state agencies for disasters two days before.”
“This includes giving real-time photos of the water level and enhanced warning through mobile phones with the assistance of the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia and Commission (MCMC),” he said, reported Malay Mail.
Zaini said this system is part of the improvement ordered by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri who visited the centre earlier.
The Flood Forecast and Warning Centre was being set up in 2014 after large parts of Kelantan, Terengganu, and Pahang were submerged following torrential rains that year, while the RM500 million PRABN was initiated in 2016.
Phase one of PRABN has been completed and currently covers 3 river basins in the 3 east coast states of the peninsula that experienced the devastating 2014 floods.
Phase 2 can be separated into the northern zone of the peninsula — Perlis, Kedah, Penang and Perak — and the central and southern zones — Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Negri Sembilan, Melaka and Johor.
According to Zaini, the PRABN system is undergoing trails in the northern zone and was able to detect the water level of the Klang river and sound the siren 6 hours ahead during the 17 December floods.
“In the Sri Muda flooding incident, the siren went off automatically and we have already notified the people and the federal and state agencies.”
“But the water rose so fast and then the electricity was cut off, causing the siren and system to be cut off as well,” he explained.
Meanwhile, a total of 120 closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras nationwide conveying real-time flood information for the public will also be operational in 2022. These CCTVs are placed at river water level monitoring stations located in the river basins involved.