MIRI: Drought-hit areas in the interiors of Sarawak will stay dry, at least for now.
State authorities cannot carry out cloud-seeding operations over the areas due to the lack of rain clouds, said Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr George Chan Hong Nam, who is chairman of the state Disaster Relief Committee.
There are not many rain clouds now. Cloud-seeding operations will be futile. We may have to use barges to ferry clean water to affected folks. If this cannot be done (due to low river-water level), we may even have to use army helicopters, he said.
We will do all we possibly can to help those affected. At the moment, I have yet to receive full details from the Welfare Department (on the situation in the drought-hit areas), he said when interviewed yesterday.
Dr Chan, who is state Finance, Public Utilities and Industrial Development Minister, was asked on measures that could be taken to assist longhouse folks who were running out of fresh water for daily consumption.
Residents in various parts of Marudi and Baram districts have over the past few days appealed for assistance, as they urgently needed fresh water supply.
Dr Chan said he would chair a state-level meeting today with the relevant government agencies and bodies to discuss the latest weather situation.
The meeting will also decide whether there is a need for the state Disaster Relief Committee to activate operation centres at the division level.
Asked on the latest weather forecast for the state, Dr Chan said the current dry weather was expected to persist.
They (weather reports) say it will be very dry until September but you can never tell. There was a bit of rain today (here yesterday), he said.
To a question, Dr Chan said the water supply in urban centres would be enough to last through the dry spell.