Poor drainage among causes of recurring flash floods in Sabah, says Bung Moktar

KOTA KINABALU: Poor drainage and irrigation are the main culprits for the recurring flash floods in towns and the city, which have seen hundreds of people displaced in Sabah, says Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin.

The state Public Works Minister said this problem goes back decades when developments were carried out without proper planning and without getting all the relevant agencies to discuss sustainability.

“Over the years, we see so many buildings being built but the roads remain mostly the same, ” he said when contacted Sunday (Jan 17).

“That is why now we have to wait first for the rain to stop and the flood to subside before we can get our engineers and other relevant authorities to look deeper into the problem as well as damages brought about by the flood and try to rectify it, ” Bung said.

He said for flash floods in towns and the city, drainage is the main contributing factor but in rural areas, it is due to geographical factors and weather conditions.

The deputy chief minister said for roads and other infrastructure damaged by the floods that are under concession, the concessionaires will be the ones responsible for fixing it.

“For areas that are not under any concessionaires, we will try to get allocations from the government to repair what is needed such as the roads, bridges and so on, ” Bung said.

He said a meeting will be held with the Chief Minister, concessionaires, engineers and everyone relevant to find ways to address the flash flood issue.

The continuous rains over the past few days have seen hundreds of people displaced in various districts including Pitas, Beaufort, Paitan, Kota Kinabalu, Putatan, Penampang and Kota Belud in Sabah.

It started from areas such as Kudat, Pitas, Paitan, Sandakan and Lahad Datu earlier last week and continued on to the west coast parts of Sabah including Penampang, Kota Kinabalu, Menggatal and nearby areas on Saturday (Jan 16).

As of 4pm Sunday (Jan 17), nine districts - Kota Belud, Beaufort, Kudat, Membakut, Sipitang, Kuala Penyu, Penampang, Tuaran and Kota Kinabalu - are still affected by the floods.

A total of 348 people from 191 villages still remain in the various temporary shelters statewide.

Reports of landslides, collapsed roads, washed away houses and cut off roads continue to emerge following incessant downpour since Saturday (Jan 16).

However, there has not been any reports of casualties as yet.

Authorities including the state Civil Defence Department, Fire and Rescue Department as well as the police are continuing to receive and respond to distress calls and prepare for evacuation of affected flood victims.

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