No water to drink

Ponds and streams are drying up in interior northern Sarawak due to drought, causing drinking water woes for rural folk.

MIRI: Drinking water supply in dozens of densely populated settlements in interior northern Sarawak has dwindled to critically-low levels.

The drought is worsening in various locations in the rural outposts, even as the battle to tackle forest fires continues. Thousands of rural folks are affected, said environmental watchdog group Save Sarawak Rivers.

Its chairman Peter Kallang told StarMetro that drinking water supply had declined to worrying levels in these settlements.

“In Baram district, for example, ponds and water-intake points are drying up.

“Even tributaries of the mighty Baram River are getting very shallow, so much so that their water has become too murky for cooking or drinking. It has not rained for weeks in the interior. Drinking water sources are drying up and many water tanks are already empty, ” he said.

Peter said in the Long Ikang settlement in middle Baram district, more than a thousand longhouse folks are facing drinking-water woes.”

A proposal has been made to get bottled water for the people in the affected longhouses, ” he added.

In the meantime, forest fires in Sarawak are slowly being contained.

The State Disaster Relief Management Committee said there were seven hotspots in Sarawak with three in Sri Aman district and four in Miri district.

The use of Bombadier aircraft and Fire and Rescue Department helicopters to dump river water over hotspots in Sri Aman has successfully reduced the haze over the past few days.

Cloud-seeding operations in Sri Aman carried out by the Meteorological Department have also helped to bring rain.

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