KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah government should ask for the army to be deployed to help villagers badly hit by floods in Kg Sugud and Kg Maang in Penampang.
Datuk Darell Leiking, the Penampang MP, said there was a pressing need to clean up the trail of destruction left by the Sept 15 floods.
He said the Federal Government, through the National Security Council and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, should consider involving the Armed Forces and auxiliaries like Regimen 507 Wataniah to help.
"People are in dire need of help. The task is too great for volunteers, NGOs and political parties," he said in a statement on Monday (Sept 20).
Leiking said most of the clean-up work and delivery of aid to the affected areas was currently carried out by volunteers from political parties, NGOs and even the villagers themselves but they could only do so much because of the thick mud that had gathered.
"As the MP of Penampang, I wish to extend my great appreciation to all the NGOs and associations who came immediately to assist the villagers in Kg Sugud and Kg Maang delivering much-needed food, bottled water and other essential items such as clothing and medication," he said.
However, there was still a lot of cleaning up to do with tonnes of mud to be cleared, he added.
Leiking said some donors had paid for backhoes but the machines could not be used in some places.
"Many volunteers had to scoop out mud manually. Many of them are now suffering from fatigue and cramps due to the sheer magnitude of the work," he added.
The involvement of soldiers from neighbouring Lok Kawi army camp and also the Wataniah from Bukit Pewira here can help in cleaning up the mud, delivering food and providing transport, he said.
"They could also help reinforce riverbanks with sandbags and repair or rebuild damaged or destroyed houses," added Leiking, who is Parti Warisan Sabah deputy president.
The immmediate priority is to clean up the mud and for the state to help the villagers repair or rebuild their homes, he said.
"What happened in Kg Sugud was beyond anyone's imagination and is an unprecedented disaster that left almost an entire village inundated by mud," he said, adding that this was not an average case of flooding.