MIRI: At least 10,000 natives living in 50 villages and longhouses in the remote Baram district in northern Sarawak have had their only land link to the outside world severed following the collapse of a trunk road on Friday (Sept 18).
The site of the collapse is near Sungai Lawen, located about six hours by land from Miri district.
Baram Peoples Action Committee chairman Philip Jau said on Saturday (Sept 19) that the road collapsed due to massive soil movement.
"The earth beneath the timber road caved in and caused the road to crack and collapse.
"There is a deep hole and a big gap preventing vehicles from passing through.
"More earth movement has been felt. The whole place is unstable after days of heavy rain and floods," he said.
The earth movement started a few days ago, and cracks started appearing two days ago and the whole section collapsed yesterday, he said.
Jau said there are at least 50 villages and longhouses in the upper sections of the site.
"That road is the only link road connecting settlements like Long Banga, Lio Mato, Bario, Akah-Tutoh and those in the Tinjar sub-district to the outside world.
"The estimated population is at least 10,000," said Jau.
Villagers had placed tree trunks across the collapsed section in order for them to walk across, he said, adding that vehicles were still blocked off.
Jau said the villagers had informed the relevant authorities and local politicians of the incident and were hoping for repairs to be done urgently.
Sarawak has been battered by bad weather since last weekend. Floods have been reported statewide, especially in Long Bemang, Long Loyang and Long Panai in Baram and in Kapit and Belaga districts in central Sarawak.