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Due to climate change, natural disasters can come in various forms. Our neighbouring countries are sometimes victims of earthquakes, tsunamis and volcano eruptions while our European counterparts may be caught in typhoons, blizzards or snowstorms. One thing is for sure – floods are one of the most common natural disasters caused by climate change and today, more and more global citizens are at exposure to flooding.
According to an article published on The University of Arizona’s website, roughly 2.23 million square kilometers, or about 861,000 square miles, were flooded at some point between 2000 and 2018, affecting between 255 million and 290 million people worldwide. From these figures, it has also been documented that nearly 90% of flood events occurred in South and Southeast Asia.
Floods can cause widespread devastation, resulting in loss of life and damages to personal property, business and public infrastructure. With Malaysian weather becoming more volatile these days, we cannot deny that floods are a constant issue that we are facing, as shown by the recent flood disaster last December. Many business premises suffered extensive losses, not only in terms of money but also in terms of products and goods, time, as well as manpower. Some of these losses include irrecoverable damages and interrupted business operations such as structural damage, loss of inventory and valuable documents, as well as damages to machinery and company vehicles that may cost a lot of money to replace. The ripple effects from shutdowns due to floods may be felt for a long time to come and, in some cases, may be difficult to recover from.
At maclean, our clients are more than just clients. They are also a part of our extended family. We were aware that some of our clients’ premises were inundated, whereby their staff and customers had to do the necessary to get to safety. In the midst of doing so, they have to helplessly watch their valuables getting destroyed as the waters continued to rise – trapping them and their customers overnight at the venue.
While the situation is beyond our control, we can only imagine the stress and distraught that came with it. Although some of them may have experienced flooding prior to this, it is a heart-breaking and tragic ordeal to have to experience this once more. Planning and organising the cleaning up of huge amounts of debris from flash floods of such magnitude is testament to our clients’ strength and resilience. In times like this, it is paramount that we prioritise and safeguard our clients’ needs and well-being and their stakeholders’ interest so that they are able to mitigate losses and resume business soonest possible.
As soon as a disaster such as flooding happens, the team at maclean quickly implements a plan called the Disaster Recovery plan. Our project team reached out to them immediately the moment the disaster happened. Part of the plan also involved brainstorming ideas with our clients to determine the most feasible and fastest way to perform post-flood clean-up.
Once flood water has receded and our client has informed us that it is safe to enter the premises, the damages were assessed, and the cleaning process commenced. As our commitment to our clients is of utmost importance, the team at maclean acted swiftly and coordinated to temporarily assign cleaning crews from other unaffected sites to assist with clean-up operations.
The efficiency of the maclean team helped make the cleanup operation a success, which allowed the clients to breathe sighs of relief as we worked together in recovering their business premises.
Starting the post-flood clean-up operations were by no means an easy feat. We assisted two of our clients who are part of the major retail chains in Malaysia. The sites were considered as “danger” zones as there were garbage scattered all over the place and the ceilings looked as though they were about to collapse anytime. As the retailers also marketed fresh produce and food, the space reeked of spoiled and rotten goods.
To prevent the spread of bacteria, garbage was sorted out and divided into categories – solid waste for disposal while perishable items were stored in wet bins to ensure that they were separated from the rest.
On top of that, there were also major logistic issues as many other businesses were dumping bags of rubbish at landfills, resulting in a long queue to discard unwanted garbage. Our team also discovered rats, cockroaches and other pests when overturning and relocating goods.
The designated cleaning crew went to the sites prepared with emergency first-aid kits, knowing that it would be difficult to purchase medicine or necessities in disaster struck areas. We were fortunate that none of our team members got sick or injured during and after the clean-up.
The post-flood clean-up lasted approximately ten to twelve days per site and many of our team members worked hard to accommodate the large workload of cleaning salvageable shelves, removing mould and stains from the walls, as well as scrubbing the floors of our clients’ premises.
We are humbled by the trust and confidence given to us by our clients in handling these alarming situations. We empathize with those who were affected and hope that they have the strength to overcome this.
maclean’s long-standing legacy in helping many multinational companies clean up their flooded premises since 1971 have enhanced our experience and provided us with a clear understanding when dealing with floods, and we will work tirelessly to continue to upgrade and improve our approach every step of the way.