MIRI: The Long Lama Clinic in rural northern Sarawak facing structural problems could be located on unstable ground that was cut from a hillslope, says Telang Usan assemblyman Dennis Ngau.
He said development projects that are ongoing downhill from it may have caused the site to become even more unstable, leading to the cracks and structural damage to the clinic's foundation.
Ngau on Thursday (July 2) said a full-scale investigation into the ground collapse at the clinic, which was built at a cost of about RM30mil, had started.
"Public Works Department (PWD) teams are at the site now.
"The initial feedback I received was that there was major ground movement at the site where the clinic was built.
"There is a big infrastructure construction project being carried out downslope. The construction works below the clinic site could have caused the ground on which the clinic was built to become more unstable.
"The soil movement led to the ground collapse and cracks in the clinic," Ngau said, adding that the clinic began operations seven years ago.
"At that time, there were no construction projects in the vicinity below the clinic so, to the naked eye, the clinic was built on safe ground," he said.
On Wednesday (July 1), the ground below the clinic collapsed, leading to big cracks at the front patio and surrounding roadside and the lanes at the nearby housing quarters.
Ngau said the front wall of the clinic had started to crack.
"However, the clinic still needs to operate as there are more than 100 patients still coming daily.
"JKR engineers have told the clinic's medics to vacate the front area and move their operations to the back of the clinic.
"However, if the cracks spread, then there will be an evacuation and the clinic must be shut down," he said.
Ngau said the Long Lama Clinic was built as the medical hub for residents in the Baram district.
Telang Usan is one of three state constituencies in Baram; the other two being Mulu and Marudi.
Baram has a population of about 40,000 who utilise the services of the clinic.
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