Ranau landslip blamed on illegal hill-cutting
Published on: Tuesday, December 10, 2019
By: Ottey Peter
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KOTA KINABALU: Hill cutting to allow for agriculture and house construction atop a hill are believed to be behind the landslide at KM96.7 of the Kota Kinabalu-Sandakan road (between Kundasang and Ranau) on Sunday night.

Fortunately no vehicle was passing when the 9.40pm landslide occurred, affecting an area 80m by 15m by 10m, leaving traffic stranded on both sides. 

State Infrastructure Development Minister Datuk Peter Anthony, who visited the site Monday, said he told the Ranau District Council to instruct the land owner to stop the activities since it did not get approval from the Public Works Department (PWD).

 It was not known why the Council failed to act until after the landslide occurred or what action it was taking on similar hill-cutting activity in the district.

 Road repairs will be carried out on Tuesday after a meeting with the authorities involved, he said, while advising motorists intending to go from Kota Kinabalu to Ranau and vice versa to use alternative routes, namely Kg Dumpiring-Mohimboyon-Kibbas Road, Kibbas-Mohimboyon-Dumpiring Road and Pinosuk-Kauluan-Kundasang Road.

 “The real cause of the landslide was due to the agricultural activity and house construction on top of the hill where the landslide occurred. We are not sure if the land-cutting activity has been approved by the authorities involved. According to PWD, they never allowed it.

 “We will decide tomorrow (Tuesday) after meeting with the people involved on whether we will use the Bailey bridge method or move the landslide and create a temporary route,” he said.

 Approximately 2.6 hectares were affected by the landslide, said Anthony, adding that police had ordered villagers living nearby to evacuate as more landslides are expected if the rain continues.

He said two villagers have made a police report regarding the landslide as it damaged their crops and houses.

“We believe there will be more reports and we hope this issue will be resolved immediately,” said Anthony.

PWD, in its WhatsApp update, categorised the landslide as dangerous and the calamity had been caused by incessant rain. No loss of lives and damage to vehicles, it said.

Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) Deputy President, who hails from Kundasang, said the authorities including the Department of Environment should investigate the massive landslide.

 “The relevant authorities should look for the culprit responsible for this damage. The impact has affected the livelihood of the people and economy,” he said, adding fortunately there is an alternative road although not in good shape.

 Japiril said the landslide resulted in broken power cables and poles that led to blackout of more than six hours. The power outage left the whole town in darkness affecting everybody including weekend accommodation in Kundasang

 He urged the authorities to carry out feasibility studies and come up with plans and funds to build alternative highways and bridges for use in the event of  landslides.




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