Endless rain triggers Sarawak floods and landslides

  • Nation
  • Sunday, 21 Feb 2016

KUCHING: Continuous heavy rain in southern Sarawak since Thursday night has left many areas flooded and triggered at least three landslides.

Roads to some villages near Bau and Puncak Borneo, which borders Kalimantan, Indonesia, have been cut off since yesterday afternoon.

So far, no deaths were reported although according to the Fire and Rescue Department, one vehicle was believed to be buried by a landslide.

State department chief Nor Hisham Mohammad said evacuations were being carried out.

“We told people to evacuate in the morning but they didn’t want to. Now, it's getting bad. We have to move quickly now,” Hisham said here yesterday.

The flood, which began on Friday night, is the second since Chinese New Year, submerging parts of tourist attractions like the Kuching Waterfront in the inner city as well as low-lying areas in the outskirts.

In Kampung Gersik, opposite the central business district, the Sarawak River burst its banks around evening yesterday.

“So many areas are flooded. A few roads are affected. The nearest major flood near a town area is in Batu Kitang while the worst hit are areas in Bau, Puncak Borneo and Serian areas,” said Hisham.

There was widespread traffic congestion at several sections of Jalan Kuching-Serian while part of the Pan Borneo Trunk Road was under water.

As at 2pm, the state Disaster Management Committee put the number of people evacuated at 263. The figure rose to 405 some four hours later. The number is likely to have risen since.

Among the affected villages are Giam, Sinar Budi, Sentah, Skog, Punau, Annah Rais, Landeh, Tebakang, Pangkalan Kuap and Muara Tuang Park.

Social media was swamped with pictures of people and animals being rescued while a photograph of a dead crocodile washed ashore in Pekan Tondong was posted online and shared hundreds of times.

As at 6.30pm, four data stations reported danger levels along Sungai Sarawak Kanan and Sungai Sarawak Kiri. The Lebaan station at Sibu has also been placed on high alert.

Between midnight and 6pm yesterday, the Batu Kitang station recorded a whopping 237mm in rainfall.

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