Extreme measures taken to combat flash floods

Sim (second from left) at the press conference.

KUCHING: The state government will take short, medium and long-term measures to combat the flooding situation in Sarawak.

The state faces flash floods and overflowing of rivers, which tend to happen during the end of the year.

Local Government Minister Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian said several short-term measures to be taken were the maintenance of scupper drains or roadside drains by local councils, debris clearing of major outlet drains and upgrading of undersized roadside drains.

“The short-term measures also includes redesigning some of the drains. As you reseal the roads, some of the side drains become smaller and water collects on the road because of that,” he told a press conference.

Dr Sim said the medium-term measures were to provide new major drainage outlets for areas badly affected by flash floods.

“Drainage works at the Sarawak General Hospital, Jalan Batu Lintang, Jalan Laksamana Cheng Ho and Federal Quarters require about RM70mil. We are in the process of making the funds available so that the work can get started.

“Other areas like Taman Malihah require an additional RM2mil,” he said.

For the long term, the state government has approved the implementation of Sarawak Urban Storm Water Management Manual for new development areas. This approach utilises detention and retention, infiltration and purification processes.

Another long-term measure to be taken is the land use master plan which incorporates stormwater management such as river reserve and regional detention or retention for integrated planning.

“Sometimes developers just block off streams and rivers on private land. With the land use master plan, we can acquire and gazette it so that those private lands are made into a reserve,” said Dr Sim.

He also said RM11mil had been allocated for urban stormwater master plan studies in urban centres such as Sri Aman, Betong, Sarikei, Bintangor, Limbang, Lawas and Serian.

In addition, he wants to reactivate the divisional urban drainage committee so that the Public Works Department, Drainage and Irrigation Department and councils can work together to solve flooding problems in different divisions.

“At the moment, certain drains belong to each of these different departments. Therefore, we want to put all of it together so that it can be settled together,” Dr Sim said.

He added that the state had requested RM2.9bil from the Government for flood mitigation projects under the 11th Malaysia Plan, with RM357mil approved under the first rolling plan.

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