Villagers in S'wak interior surviving on biscuits as floods leave them with no way to cook

  • Nation
  • Sunday, 15 Dec 2019

Floods wrecking havoc in Kpg Kuala Tutoh and dozens of other settlements in interior northern Sarawak. - Pic by villager Michael Ding

MIRI: The floods in remote parts of Sarawak have left victims unable to cook as cooking gas cylinders have gone empty and the alternative – firewood – is wet from the deluge.

Flood victims are sending out messages highlighting their predicament as they are cut off from the outside world and cannot travel to towns to buy more gas.

The Star on Sunday (Dec 15) received a message from Kampung Kuala Tutoh, where a 72-door longhouse has been inundated by 0.7m of water.

Kampung Kuala Tutoh, in the upper reaches of the Marudi district, is around six hours away by boat from Miri.

There are about 500 people from the minority Lakiput ethnic group living there.

The village's Lakiput Association senior member Michael Ding said cooking is a daily dilemma now.

"We in Kampung Kuala Tutoh have run out of cooking gas.

"We cannot refill gas cylinders as we cannot go to the town as floods have been cut off all roads.

"Travelling by boat is also dangerous as the rivers have swelled and are raging.

"Without cooking gas, we had to rely on firewood – but due to the bad weather since more than two weeks ago, the firewood is all wet.

"We cannot cook anymore," he told The Star when contacted.

Ding said welfare authorities have sent packages of dry food to the flooded settlement.

"Dry food like biscuits and canned food come in handy but we urgently need cooking gas," he said.

Ding said the settlement has been under about 0.7m of water for more than a week and the first floor of the two-storey building is flooded.

The village is one of several dozen populated settlements severely hit by floods caused by the relentless landas season.

The landas in Sarawak is as ferocious as the monsoon on the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia.

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