15 families evacuated after riverbank collapses

PASIR MAS: Fifteen families have been evacuated after the Sungai Kelantan riverbank near Dataran Air Muleh, Kampung Jalan Pohon Celagi here, collapsed.

Pasir Mas district police chief Asst Comm Mohamad Roy Suhaimi Sarif said police were alerted of a small crack on the road near the scene at 10.30pm on Tuesday but a massive landslide occurred hours later between 2.30am and 6.30am yesterday.

“The incident caused the river to break its bank, which left a house destroyed and eight others on the verge of collapse, but there were no casualties reported, ” he told reporters at the landslide site yesterday.

ACP Mohamad Roy said that following the incident, 15 families comprising 50 people were told to evacuate immediately.

“We have also closed all the exit and entry roads to this village as the unstable land movements still pose a danger, ” he added.

A resident, Darohaimi Ahmad, 46, said she was sleeping when she suddenly felt a tremor at 5.30am.

“As I was sleeping on the floor I could feel as if something heavy was being dragged.

“When I awoke and looked out the window, I was shocked to see the landslide nearing my house.

“I have been living here with my husband and three children for the past 21 years and I have never seen anything like this, ” said Darohaimi, who will be moving to her family home.

State industrial, trade, investment and entrepreneur development committee chairman Datuk Hanifa Ahmad, who is also Pengkalan Pasir state assemblyman, said that the incident was believed to have occurred following erosion of the riverbank about 300m from the scene.

“According to the Department of Irrigation and Drainage (DID), the landslide involved a 100m stretch and villagers must remain vigilant as the earth movement is still happening.

“I have urged the DID to lodge an immediate report to enable repair works and the residents’ representative has been told to gather data on the families involved for the provision of immediate assistance.”

Hanifa added that he had contacted the Mentri Besar and district council to help arrange temporary shelter for the victims, saying that they would be transferred to the Pasir Mas district hall.

Mentri Besar Datuk Ahmad Yakob said that speedy action should be taken as soil movement was still detected in the area and he hoped the problem would be resolved before the monsoon season in November.

“This matter needs to be studied in-depth, including what caused the soil movement.

“I was told that the wall was built in the ’80s and is now 40 years old, ” he told reporters after visiting the area yesterday.

“We will also look into a short-term approach that can be taken to save the villagers’ properties, ” he added. — Bernama

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