Sunday, November 14, 2010

Northern Floods - The Rumour Mill

The recent floods which devastated the northern states earlier this month was the worst in living memory (of the people in the northern area that is). The Malaysian Meteorological Department stated that 270mm of rain were dumped in the area in 3 days as compared to the average of 114mm for the whole month! A tropical depression (sort of an embryo for cyclonic tropical storms) was responsible for the recent deluge. And as the annual rainy season has not really started yet, there may be another wave of floods coming at the end of this year.

There were a number of rumours circling around then (even until today) about the floods. iIwon't gave my edition of the political aftermath of the flood per se; plenty of others have written about that, but rather concerning the flood itself. The most popular were:

1. The northern states got lucky. The Thai authorities did not release excess water from their dams - waters that could spell more trouble for Kedah and Perlis. Also flood waters from Thailand would go downstream towards Malaysia.
- This was also, inter alia, the 'reason' on why the state got flooded in 2005. However looking at topographical maps of southern Thailand, the water catrchment area and the river valleys there do not head towards Malaysia. That was also the reason why Kedah and Perlis were not flooded even though Hat Yai was inundated in 2003.

2. The construction of the double railway track was reponsible for the recent floods - the works prevented water from freely flowing towards the sea.
- While such construction project may probably be the cause of localised flash floods, the same cannot be said for a major flooding. The Met Department has stated that flood was caused by twice the mount of the average November rainfall in just three days. Such amount water causes the rivers to burst their banks, flooding the surrounding area. And if the railway project is the cause of the flood then why the western side of the railway track (downstream) were also flooded?

While the average Joes might believe such unfounded stories, especially the second one, if I recall correctly, the political leaders of Kedah also put the blame on the construction project, for what reason, I have no idea. And comically the Chief Minister of Penang also blamed the double trackway project even though Penang was not affected whatsoever...probably just to show his solidarity with his under-fire comrade to the north!

1 comment:

mumuchi said...

when rhetoric will be the gospel truth under political expediency, what do you expect.