KOTA KINABALU: The local authorities in Tawau must adopt a proactive stand in dealing with the recent flash floods which hit several areas in the district, says Datuk Christina Liew.
The Tawau MP said the stormwater drainage system should be maintained at all times so that inundated drains do not cause street flooding.
“Flash floods are not a new occurrence as these have happened repeatedly over the decade.
“Yet, we are hearing the same old story - clogged drains that overflow whenever it rains for a few hours,” she said in a statement on Thursday (Oct 6).
Liew, who is also former Sabah deputy chief minister, said this after several low-lying areas in Tawau were hit by flash floods after a downpour that lasted some two hours on Wednesday (Oct 5) evening.
In one of the areas, the Fuji Mart roundabout, which is located off Jalan Sin Onn, the flooding there was partly due to clogged drainage.
A Fire and Rescue Department spokesman said the flash flood was triggered because of the blocked drainage system which caused water to flow onto the road.
Liew said preventive measures should be in place such as periodical clearing of vegetation by the roadside and cleaning of housing drains.
“If there is a problem, fix it so that it will not escalate the situation.
"If stormwater runoff is managed properly, I am sure it will not cause frequent flooding in residential or public areas that can result in damage to properties or loss of lives," she said.
Liew also expressed hope that the relevant authorities could hire more workers if a lack of manpower is hampering efforts in monitoring and cleaning the drainage system.
Meanwhile, Robert Penggai, who is Liew’s parliamentary liaison officer, and several others have met with a Tawau district Drainage and Irrigation Department engineer to find out the cause of the perennial flood problem.
"We learned that the 60mm rainfall within half an hour in Tawau on Wednesday should not have resulted in flash floods unless there were clogged drains.
"When my colleagues and I removed one manhole cover along Jalan Chong Thien Vun (before the entrance to the Bintang Kubota commercial centre), we found a sea of rubbish inside the drain," he said.