MIRI: The severity of sudden floods in interior northern and central Sarawak took many of the native folk by surprise.
All it took was a few hours of incessant rain for the rivers to break their banks.
“The floods happened very quickly and people in the riverine settlements were caught unprepared,” said Belaga native Abun Sui.
Sui added that he was in Belaga for the Gawai festival when floods inundated the Long Busang settlement.
The devastating floods over the past two days in northern and central Sarawak caused widespread damage.
At the Long Busang settlement in the Belaga district, about 500km south of Miri, many houses were toppled and other properties damaged.
Long Busang is located in the vast Hulu Rejang parliamentary constituency.
Sui said the 1,000-plus folk in Long Busang saw floods reach about five metres at one point.
“They need help to recover from this disaster,” said the PKR Hulu Rejang branch chief.
The State Disaster Relief Committee is coordinating the deployment of emergency food aid from Belaga town to Long Busang, which takes three hours by river.
Consignments of food and drinking water are being sent to the flood victims who have been relocated to higher ground.
Committee secretariat chief Mejar Ismail Mahedin said numerous agencies were handling the food aid relief operation.
In interior northern Sarawak, the flood-hit districts of Baram and Tinjar are also seeing relief operations being carried out.
Long Loyang in Baram is the worst hit, with Ulu Teru in Tinjar badly affected.
The state Fire and Rescue Department in its latest updates said the floods in the northern districts were showing signs of receding.
However, folk in the longhouses have not been evacuated. They have only been moved to the upper floor of the longhouses.