13th January 2009;
Sandakan: Fifteen houses in three villages here were destroyed due to a high tide phenomenon on Sunday. However, there was no casualty. Many people panicked and ran to higher grounds thinking a tsunami had struck when waves as high as 2.8 metre pounded the coastline.
Seven of the houses were in Kampung Cahaya Baru and the others in Kampung Forest (six) and Kampung Tinusa 2 (two).
Sandakan fire and rescue operations officer Mohd Razali Awang Ahmad said 27 firemen went to the scene after receiving a call at 8.54pm and found that two water villages, Kampung Sim-Sim and Kampung Gas, were also affected.
The affected residents were forced to vacate their homes and were allowed to return to their houses at 3am Monday when the situation returned to normal.
At Kg Sim Sim, a connecting bridge at Lorong 24 Sim-Sim was also ruined at 10.30pm, resulting in 11 families trapped in their houses.
Deputy Chief Minister cum Tanjung Papat Assemblyman Datuk Raymond Tan Shu Kiah urged the relevant department and agency to assist the affected families immediately.
He also urged the victims to look for a safer place while waiting for government assistance.
Accompanying him were chairman of Sandakan Natural Disaster Committee Hamsan Supain, district police chief ACP Rosli Mohd Isa and district Fire and Rescue Department chief, Alias Abu.
In KUDAT, more than 1, 000 residents from four villages were placed at two temporary flood centres after the water level rose between 1m and 1.5m following incessant rain since Sunday.
District Police Chief, DSP Dawi Ossen said starting 2.30pm, Monday, 1,168 villagers from Kg Korina, Kg Andap Jawa, Kg Narandang Darat and Kg Narandang were shifted to the Sikuati multipurpose hall while another 309 people from Kg Narandang to SK Lok Yuk, Sikuati.
“The water level started going up after non-stop rain since late Sunday morning,” he said. The downpour only stopped at about 3pm, Monday.
The water-level, up to the waist in some parts, had yet to recede and residents were advised to stay at the centres for the moment.
“Vehicles are unable to access the roads at the affected villages due to the flood,” he said.
Two minor landslips were reported in Kg Dampirit and Kg Sumandakon, resulting in two roads being cut off but the Public Works Department has taken efforts to clear the debris.
“The centres will be open round-the-clock while the authorities including the police, Fire and Rescue Department, District Office and Welfare Department, among others, are on standby and monitoring the situation,” he added.
In KOTA MARUDU, more than 500 people from the villages of Jorontung, Pancur Langkon, Marudu Laut and Marudu Darat were moved to four temporary centres after the water level in the Kinarom River breached the danger level.
“Continuous rain since about 2pm on Sunday caused the water in the river to overflow É it has gone above 8.1m, which is over the danger level,” said Kota Marudu District Officer Luvita Koisun, adding the water started going up at 6pm, Sunday.
She said it continued pouring through Monday morning all the way to 6pm, pointing out they were expecting worse. “Heavy rain is expected at midnight.”
The flood victims have been placed at temporary centres in KPD in Timbang Batu, SK Langkon, SK Ranau and the Marudu Darat balairaya.
Luvita, who is also the District Disaster Management and Relief Committee Chairperson, said more than 20 villages were affected by the flood but only residents from the four villages had to be moved for now.
“We are monitoring the situation 24 hours like the police operations room,” she said, adding a host of relief agencies were on standby.
Residents in the district are forced to go without water at least for the moment, as the Water Department water treatment plant in Simpangan had been shut down because the water is too dirty.
“At the moment the people in the centres are provided mineral water and food,” she said.
The Meteorological Department has forecast thunderstorms off Sarawak, Palawan, Labuan, west Sabah and east Sabah.
source: Daily Express, Sabah; www.dailyexpress.com.my