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Direct and Indirect Impact from Sandy Flood Disaster

This article is dedicated to the victims of Superstorm Sandy...

I believe by this moment, everybody have heard about the impact that Superstorm Sandy has created in the US. Not just that, the heavy rain and flood impacting UK and Italy recently has also caused interruption in daily activities. A number of other countries are facing heavy rain as well. My place (Johor, Malaysia) included although the disaster is not as bad as those experienced in the cities like New York and Newcastle, UK (June 2012). I wish all the best for those who are directly involve in the disaster.

I was in Newcastle, UK in this year's summer and I personally experienced the heavy rain for the first time in UK. The massive rain resulted in an unexpected flood.  13 years ago, I stayed in Bradford, UK for 2 years and I know that this country barely have rains. But, perhaps due to climate change and human action, rain storms took place. In this photo, floodwaters rise around stranded cars as the rain teems down in Heaton, Newcastle upon Tyne where roads were transformed into lakes in a matter of seconds.  Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2165944/


Well this is something that we seriously need to take care off, anticipate and have a plan to overcome its problem. Back in 2006, when I was a process engineer in a physical refinery plant, similar disaster stroke us. Almost half of peninsular Malaysia experienced such a terrible flood. Properties and goods were damaged. That was something that we can directly see.

However, there were something else that I have not even imagine before. Being a process engineer for a huge 3000 metric per day plant, we have to run edible oil such as crude palm oil (CPO). Unfortunately due to heavy rainy season that caused the flood, all tankers were not able to arrive at our plant which is located south of peninsular Malaysia. Another direct result was that the price of CPO escalated. The price became too expensive and at the same time the quality of oil are very poor. Imagine harvesting palm oil in a flood and retrieving them under the dirty water!!! 

A CPO tanker trapped in a heavy flood in Segamat, Johor, Malaysia.

The quality of CPO was very poor that the moisture and impurities (MNI) was very high. Such high MNI was indeed not good for my plant to process and as a result my plant experienced pressure vacuum drop besides numerous other problems. That year was really bad. The production capacity dropped significantly and the processing cost increased. After the rainy season we had to stop the plant and perform heavy maintenance to clear the pipelines and vessels from the effect of processing poor quality CPO that resulted from the dirt and moisture from flood. It was a comprehensive and integrated flood restoration process in a huge refinery plant. 

Not just that, the damage on the (tar) road from flood and puddle has resulted in 2 of my car sport rims badly dented. That was a minor problem for me that needs repair and my money, off course. As a result of many holes on the road, many accidents occurred, some of it which involved lost of lives too. Well, those were examples of indirect impact of flooding that I experienced 6 years ago.

But I know I cannot compare what I experienced with the people who experienced it directly. At least in my country, the flood happens in a hot and humid whether, whereas people in New York (and places attacked by Sandy) are now very cold due to winter coming on pretty soon. Many private and public properties were spoil and damaged. Not to mention the vehicles trapped or swept away by the flood. The power disconnected and people living in dark cold. Possibly freezing.

Brooke Clarkin tries to salvage some personal items from her mother's home in Staten Island, New York, Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012. Her mother's home was not only flooded to the ceiling, but was swept off its foundation and was carried to the other side of the street. The National Guard and federal emergency management officials will deliver 1 million meals and bottled water to New York areas hardest hit by Superstorm Sandy. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig). Source: news.yahoo.com.

As temperatures begin to drop, people wait in line to fill containers with gas at a Shell gasoline filling station Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012, in Keyport, N.J. In parts of New York and New Jersey, drivers lined up Thursday for hours at gas stations that were struggling to stay supplied. The power outages and flooding caused by Superstorm Sandy have forced many gas stations to close and disrupted the flow of fuel from refineries to those stations that are open. (AP Photo/Mel Evans) Source: news.yahoo.com.
Debris covers the lower floor of Don Durando's house in Long Beach, N.Y. Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012, after sustaining flooding and other damage from Superstorm Sandy. Three days after Sandy slammed the mid-Atlantic and the Northeast, New York and New Jersey struggled to get back on their feet, the U.S. death toll climbed to more than 80, and more than 4.6 million homes and businesses were still without power. (AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek) Source: news.yahoo.com.

The images which I took from news.yahoo.com are ample to illustrates the devastation that just took place. The list won't end if I am to write all the sadness of the victims of Sandy here.I just hope and pray that everything will be fine and get back to normal.

posted by zaki yamani @ 10:32 PM,

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The Author

zyz

I’m Zaki. I used to be a project, process and chemical engineer. Few years ago I successfully became a Chartered Engineer (IChemE) and Professional Engineer (BEM). I'm now employed as a chemical engineering educator/researcher/consultant. Hope you like reading my blog. I welcome any feedback from you. My email: zaki.yz[alias]gmail.com. TQ!


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