Malaysia: Military and Fire Dept to deploy tankers to drought areas in Sabah

The Star 18 Feb 16;

KOTA KINABALU: The military and Fire and Rescue Services Department will be roped in to help distribute water to drought-stricken areas in Sabah if necessary.

Sabah Community Development and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Jainab Ahmad Ayid said both sides were represented at the disaster management committee.

“We can seek their help to deploy their tankers to the affected areas,” she said.

Jainab said the state had sought such assistance in the past.

She said the military and Fire Department tankers were deployed to send water to Ranau, Kundasang and Kota Belud in the aftermath of the earthquake which occurred on June 5 last year.

“The committee is keeping a close watch on the drought situation in Sabah.

“We need the public to help inform us of the situation in their areas,” she added.

UKM climatologist Dr Fredolin Tangang said an El Nino-induced drought as severe as the one in 1997-1998 will hit Sabah and northern Sarawak over the next three months.

He said the forecast of the APEC Climate Centre in Busan indicated a more than 80% likelihood of below normal rainfall over the region between now and April.

He said reports of rivers running dry in northern Sarawak was also an indication that the drought had set in.

PWD to loggers: Send us your trucks to help
STEPHEN THEN The Star 18 Feb 16;

MIRI: Timber companies are being sought by the Public Works Department (PWD) to help transport fresh water to remote regions facing a water shortage due to the El Nino hot spell.

These companies have big logging trucks that can deliver large amounts of fresh water from treatment plants, said state PWD director Zuraimi Sabki.

“We need to transport a lot of water from the plants in the urban centres to send to settlements scattered in different isolated regions, including the highlands in Bakelalan.

“We need huge trucks to transport the water containers through rugged terrain.

“My district engineers are coordinating with these timber companies on the ground now,” he said when asked on the latest developments.

Two weeks ago, rural folks in Bakelalan in the northern-most Lawas district sent an SOS as the rivers had dried up, it has not rained there for more than two months.

The rivers are their only source of water for cooking, drinking and washing.

A week ago, the state welfare department and PWD rushed mechanical water pumps to the rural outposts of Bakelalan to try to collect whatever water that was left from the rivers and streams that had not dried up totally.

State Welfare, Women and Family Development Minister Datuk Fatimah Abdullah said her ministry was working with the PWD to assist those affected.

In Bakelalan, over 2,000 villagers were now without clean water, said Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) deputy president Datuk Nelson Balang Rining.

Balang, who is SPDP chairman for the Bakelalan division, said yesterday that among those affected were children from three schools – SK Long Sukang, SK Long Semadoh and SK Bakelalan. The Bakelalan highlands are in the northern-most mountains of Sarawak near the Kalimantan border.

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