KOTA KINABALU: While flood victims in Sabah are thankful for the help and donations in the form of food and other essentials from the government and other organisations, they also want better flood mitigation initiatives to be put in place for the future.
Kapayan assemblyman Jannie Lasimbang wants the Sabah government to continue flood mitigation efforts, including drainage and irrigation for Penampang.
The houses of Lasimbang's parents and siblings are among those that are always flooded during the rainy season.
“Floods are an issue that I have been speaking about for many years, and even though I am no longer in the government and have no allocation to help the people solve their woes, I hope the current government will not look away but speed up assistance for those affected, ” she said.
A flood victim from Kg Ramayah here who only wanted to be known as Rita said the floods were nothing new and something should be done to address the issue.
“The government should really talk to scientists and geological experts on how to help mitigate floods in Sabah instead of focusing on politics, ” said another survivor from the same area who only wanted to be known as Bibi.
Sunita Rahman from the nearby village of Torikon said she was fed up with the floods and how she and her family had to stay up the whole night whenever it rained non-stop.
“Is there really no way for anyone, especially the government, to come up with feasible flood mitigation measures, ” she asked while appealing for help for those badly affected by the situation.
Christin B who resides in Menggatal with her family is busy moving things away from the water with the weather not showing signs of improvement.
“We are still trying to move into our new place here, it is still not even complete and now we have to deal with floods, ” said the pregnant mother of two.
She urged developers to put more emphasis on drainage systems when they are constructing new projects, especially the Pan Borneo highway project.
Meanwhile, many small businesses working from home are forced to cancel orders, while others have to stay up all night just to move things to higher parts of their houses as they keep a watch on the weather and flood conditions.
A baker who goes by the name of Ava OJ on Facebook shared how she was forced to cancel all orders for the day due to the floods and that she would have to arrange for refunds after settling matters at home.
Many of her customers have shown support by telling her to take her time and to stay safe during this wet weather.
Nur Mohd Zaky from Tuaran said his family, who recently lost two houses after they were washed away by strong currents, have now lost another house to the floods.
“The last one is gone too. We are at our wits end, ” he said.
He and his family are now taking shelter at a relative's house not far from where they lived.
Handyman Francis Xavier, who is disabled, said that while his house and workshop where he makes furniture were still not too badly damaged, he hoped the situation would not worsen.
According to him, he had lost all his tools and several pieces of half-built furniture for clients in a flood several months ago.
Apart from low-lying areas, Manukan Island which is not far from the city centre is also flooded.
Former Sabah Parks director Dr Jamili Nais said this is due to the high tide and continuous rainfall.
“Manukan Island has been flooded before but not this bad, this is the worst I have seen on the island throughout my 32 years of service with Sabah Parks, ” he said.
Apart from floods, roads, landslips, and fallen trees have been recorded in various parts of Sabah but there have yet to be any casualties reported.
Meanwhile, floods are also causing disruptions to water supplies in various areas including Tambunan, Kasigui Penampang, Beluran, Keningau, Pulau Banggi, Papar, Telupid and Tenom due to clogged water pumps, submerged water intake pipes at the treatment plants and murky waters among others.
The latest Meteorological Department forecast says heavy rain is expected to occur over the interiors of Sabah (Sipitang, Tenom, Kuala Penyu, Beaufort, Keningau and Tambunan), Sandakan (Telupid, Beluran and Sandakan) and Kudat until Jan 19.
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