KOTA KINABALU: The busy Penampang-Tambunan trunk road has been totally cut off by a landslide following three days of continuous heavy rain.
A 50m stretch of the trunk road, about 22km from Donggongon town, also caved in at 4am yesterday, making the road impassable to all vehicles.
The landslip hit part of a house belonging to businessman Henry Monis Gumissi who was thankful that none of his family members was injured.
His wife and their children were sleeping when they heard loud cracking sounds coming from the rear of the house.
At that time Henry was fetching his son from the Hongkod Koisaan hall where the family was operating a stall in conjunction with Kaamatan or Harvest Festival.
“My daughter-in-law was sleeping when she heard the cracking sounds at about 3.20am, and woke up to find cracks on the kitchen wall,” he said.
She initially thought the damage was just minor, but about an hour later, the whole road beside the house collapsed and the moving earth dragged along the entire kitchen, chicken coop and fish pond with it.
Henry said there were already signs of problems in the area as cracks had appeared on the road surface several months ago and the authorities had been alerted.
Meanwhile, Public Works Department director Datuk John Anthony said repairs were immediately carried out on the affected stretch near Kampung Timpoluon.
“We are rectifying the problem and the road should be passable after 7pm,” he said.
Villagers who wanted to do business at the weekly tamu (market) had no other choice but to walk across the collapsed section to catch a bus whereas some called friends to pick them up on motorcycles.
Penampang MP Darell Leiking, who was met at the scene, lauded the police, civil defence personnel as well as Public Works Department staff for their quick response.
He urged the authorities to carry out a study to determine if the newly-cut hills opposite the road might have led to clogged streams, causing them to overflow and become ponds that put pressure on the earth and road resulting in the landslide and cave-in.