BINTULU: A sudden, unforeseen emergency evacuation had to be carried out at residential estates along the Mile 5 Bintulu-Miri section of the Pan Borneo highway in northern Sarawak during the wee hours of yesterday morning after flash floods brought more than a metre of water into the houses of at least 25 families living in low-lying areas.
The sudden flood scare caused 105 people from the 25 houses in the area to hurriedly leave their homes when the flood waters rushed into their houses after just a short while of heavy rain.
The emergency evacuation was carried out at about midnight and was completed at about 1am yesterday.
The Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) office in Bintulu sent its officials to the scene to check the situation and found that the Fire and Rescue Department personnel had coordinated well with the police, the Civil Defence and the welfare authorities to facilitate the emergency evacuation.
Choo Mei Yee, the press secretary to Bintulu MP Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing, said that Tiong was out of Bintulu yesterday for official duties, but he had been told about the sudden floods that hit Bintulu.
“The flash floods were due to very heavy rain late last night. There was a sudden rise in water along the Mile 5 Bintulu to Miri highway due to the rain,” she said.
“The Fire and Rescue Department received a call for help and rushed to the scene. At about midnight, the flash floods were already at least one metre high.
“Twenty-five families with 105 people had to be immediately evacuated as the water had rushed into their homes.
“They were swiftly relocated to the Bintulu Civic Centre,” she added.
Those who were evacuated stayed the night at the temporary shelter and returned home yesterday morning to start cleaning up their houses.
Tiong, who is SPDP president, had only last week, expressed his worries about the increasing spate of flash floods in and around Bintulu town.
He had visited several low-lying areas and found that the drainage systems there needed to be urgently looked into and improved.
Tanjung Kidurong state assemblyman Chiew Ching Sing had also expressed his concerns that flash floods and high tides had become increasing frequent and that these woes had not been effectivelty dealt with because the present facilities used by the weather focus department to predict these occurences might no longer be effective.
Chiew had called on the state authorities to upgrade these flood “readers” fast due to the fact that floods were becoming a threat throughout the state not just in the rural areas, but also in the cities and towns.