Road collapse cuts off 10,000 villagers in Baram

MIRI: At least 10,000 people living in 50 villages and longhouses in the remote Baram district in northern Sarawak have their link to the outside world severed following the collapse of a trunk road.

At press time, tree trunks were placed over the damaged section of the road to allow people to cross on foot but it remains impassable to vehicles.

The site of the collapsed timber road is near Sungai Lawen, located about six hours by land from Miri district.

Baram Peoples Action Committee chairman Philip Jau said the road collapsed due to massive soil movement.

“The earth beneath the timber road caved in, causing the road to crack and collapse inwards.

“There is a deep and wide hole preventing vehicles from passing through.

“The whole place is unstable after days of heavy rain and floods. The ground hasn’t settled yet, ” he said.

Indication of earth movement began with cracks that started appearing two days ago before the whole section collapsed yesterday, he said.

There are at least 50 villages and longhouses in the upper sections of that 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 for the 50 plus settlements is at least 10,000, ” said Jau.

The villagers have informed the relevant authorities and local politicians of the incident.

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.

Kapit and Belaga districts in central Sarawak are also affected.

At several longhouses, the floods reached 2.2m high.

Some 20 schools in Baram were also hit by floods which led to classes being suspended for several days.

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