Not a happy Valentine’s Day for 500 evacuees

KUCHING: The weekend’s heavy downpour raised the number of flood evacuees up to almost 500, according to the National Security Council.

The council reported evacuations peaked around evening on Valentine’s Day with 476 individuals from 144 families registered at four relief shelters.

The worst affected area was at the rural coastal town of Sadong Jaya, about 100km away from the state capital. There, primary school SK Kelali was turned into a relief shelter accommodating 202 people, while a local resource centre housed another 135 individuals.

Also affected was Asajaya, which is nearer to Kuching, and flash floods were also reported at Serian, which is further inland near the Kalimantan border.

At the same time, three schools (including SK Kuala Kenyana at Mukah in the central region) were also closed.

At noon yesterday, about 100 evacuaees, mostly from Asajaya, were able to return home after flood waters subsided.

The Malaysian Meteorological Department (Met) has forecast “normal” weather patterns for Sarawak this month, which means the southern region could receive as much as 900mm of rainfall.

In comparison, just 300mm is forecast for Sabah and other states in Peninsular Malaysia.

Every February, the areas in and around Kuching have always received the most amount of rain nationwide.

The peak of the floods last month, when more than 10,000 were evacuated, was triggered after it rained more than 250mm over just two days, coinciding with the start of a week of high tides.

Looking ahead, the Met is forecasting isolated thunderstorms every day until Chinese New Year, over which the wet weather pattern is expected to persist.

In anticipation of possible floods, rescue units like the Fire and Rescue Department have cancelled their personnel’s leave. – By YU JI

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valentine's day , flood , evacuees


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