Malaysia: Crops fail and fires rage in Sabah

The Star 18 Mar 16;

KOTA KINABALU: With El Nino bringing in the dry spell, crops are beginning to fail here.

Sabah Civil Defence Department director Kol Mulliadi Al Hamdi Ladin said they had so far received 36 reports of crop failures in the northern Kota Belud district.

According to the reports, padi crops have failed due to insufficient irrigation while oil palm and rubber trees were damaged in fires.

A meeting of the state Natural Disaster Management Committee was told yesterday that farmers at other districts were also beginning to report problems with their crops.

In southern Keningau, firemen are keeping a close watch on 500 acres (202ha) of private village estates and farms which were destroyed in a plantation fire.

State Fire and Rescue Department director Nordin Pauzi said aerial water bombing on the plantation area was conducted yesterday and the fire, which had been raging for a week, had been brought under control. A firebreak has also been put in place to ensure that it does not spread further.

The weather has also left some 200 villages facing water shortages.

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