Thousands in 3 districts hit
Published on: Friday, February 14, 2014
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Kota Kinabalu: Torrential rain that fell for eight hours non-stop since 4pm on Wednesday led to widespread flooding in many villages affecting thousands in Keningau, Beaufort and Tenom. In Tenom, a stretch of railway line was left suspended when the earth underneath gave way. Sabah Railway Department General Manager Datuk Mohd Zain Mohd Said said railway service between Pangi and Beaufort had to be suspended as the Saliwangan Station was also hit by flood waters.

He said the restoration process would take several days, adding they are looking for alternative routes where passengers can go on foot to another cargo train which can connect them to their destination.

In Keningau at least four villages were flooded affecting about 500 villagers in Kg Toboh Laut, Kg Kota Ayangan, Kg Baginda and Kg Tigot. Others which also felt the impact of rising waters were Kg Kapayan Apin-Apin, Kg Tuarid Taud, Kg Durok, Kg Kauran and Kg Mempikit, among others.

Deputy Chief Minister-cum-Minister of Infrastructure Development, Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan visited the affected areas on Thursday. Also at the site, was Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Raymond Tan Shu Kiah who was on a working visit to the area.

Pairin advised the people to take proactive measures to prevent loss of life.

"As leaders we are sympathetic to what has taken place here where so many people, especially villagers and farmers, are affected and incurred losses in terms of assets as well as crops.

"Obviously, natural disasters such as this are unavoidable. However, we can take necessary actions to ensure that worse consequences do not befall ourselves, our families and neighbours.

"Towards that end, we want to advise affected villagers to comply with the advice and instructions of the authorities in dealing with this situation in a more orderly manner," he said.

Keningau Parliamentary Liaison Officer, Agustine Nain, said the farming community in the villages affected were the worst affected where they suffered tremendous losses.

"Our survey found that farmers suffered the worst whereby their newly harvested padi drifted away in the flood. The village in Kota Ayangan now resembles a lake," he said.

He said the suspension bridge in Kg Kapayan Apin-Apin was swept away and people were forced to use the alternative Jalan Kg Linsudan route.

He sought the cooperation of community leaders to provide detailed reports promptly and disseminate information to the Parliamentary Office for immediate action as well as for channeling aid to the people.

In Tenom, the rising Pagalan River resulted in 20 villages getting flooded affecting more than 1,000 people in the area.

Tenom Disaster Committee Secretary Puin Piduru, said the villages are Kg Bangkulin, Tomani Road, Kg Gumisi, Kg Kemabong Lama, Kg Pamaluian, Kg Paal, Kg Enubai, Kg Sindungon, Kg Village, Kg Talipasu, Kg Tumantalik, Kg Tenom Lama, Kg Batu 8, Kg Batu 6, Jalan Sapong, Kg Seri Menanti 3, Kg Bunut, Kg Binsilon, Kg Pantugon, and Kg Umari.

The villages at Jalan Tomani-Tenom were also affected.

Native Chief Representative (WKAN) of Mukim Dalit, in the Sub-District of Sook, Sukilim Andamat said eight villages were affected in the area namely Kg Mampulut, Kg Mambulu, Kg Gana Dalit, Kg Dalit Station, Kg Dalit Laut, Kg Sanang, and Kg Bonor, as well as three other primary schools namely SK Kuala Kahaba, SK Dalit and SK Bonor and the Kg Kuala Kahaba's Perpustakaan Desa.

The road from Kg Dalit leading to Kg Bonor was cut off and people were forced to use alternative routes through Jalan Libodon.

It was learnt that two rivers, Sungai Padas and Pegalan had reached danger levels at 177.95 meters and have overflowed to several villages in the area, resulting in SK Ladang Sapong in the Kemabong area to be closed.

Flood victims were sent to several evacuation centres which were opened, namely Dewan Seri Antanom, Dewan Jinuin Mandalom, Pantongan Cultural House and Saga.

The flood in Tenom was said to be the biggest in 40 years and worse than during Storm Greg in 1996. Tenom District Officer Madi Yem Layapan said they are studying and waiting for reports from villages.

Nabawan District Officer Fredian Gan En Siong said no less than five villages were affected.

In Beaufort, 25 villages were affected with two families comprising 12 people having to be evacuated to the Dewan Membakut.

District Police Chief DSP Mustaffa Maarof said as at 4pm on Thursday, 10 routes had been closed along with 17 schools.

Women, Family and Community Development Deputy Minister Datuk Azizah Mohd Dun who visited flood victims at Kg Bali Bata, Beaufort, said the flood victims would be evacuated to SMK Beaufort 3. She hoped the government would allocate funds to build barriers in flood prone areas in the district.

Azizah suggested flood victims who frequently faced rampant flooding be relocated to a new village located on higher ground. Together with her was Beaufort Division Umno Chief Isnin Aliasneh and District Officer Said Othman.

Also at the flood site was Foreign Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman.


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