Malaysia: Sabah endures battering by tropical storm Lan; damage, flooding worsens

KRISTY INUS New Straits Times 19 Oct 17;

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah government is closely monitoring worsening weather conditions, and damage wrought by the tail end of tropical storm Lan on the west coast of the state.

Chief Minister Tan Sri Musa Aman said the State Disaster Relief Committee and district level committees have been activated to assist those affected by the inclement weather, including flood victims in hardest-hit areas.

"It is one of the most severe (and sustained) storms we have experienced in a long time.

"I am aware there is a lot of damage caused by the strong winds, including rooftops blown off and trees uprooted," he said in a statement today.

Musa said relevant authorities at the state and federal levels are monitoring the situation and updating the public through existing channels, including social media.

"I also caution the public, especially children, to refrain from being outdoors during stormy weather and to listen (to) directives by authorities to move to safer ground," he said.

The meteorological department had warned of heavy rains and strong winds hitting the west coast of Sabah over the last few days.

While thunderstorms are expected to end today, authorities have cautioned against shipping and boating activities in Sabah waters, as strong winds and waves are expected to last until Saturday.

Lan, which has intensified into a typhoon according to international news reports, is moving from the east of the Philippines and has the potential of developing into a super typhoon, posing a direct threat to Okinawa and mainland Japan this weekend.

Meanwhile as of 2pm, flood victims in Kota Belud district increased from 128 on Wednesday night to 180. They have all been temporarily placed at the Tun Said community hall.

More than 20 uprooted tree incidents were recorded in various districts on the west coast as of 2pm today, with two involving trees falling onto vehicles and six onto houses, according to district fire and rescue departments.

However, no casualty has been reported.

As of 4pm, downpours continue in several areas on the west coast.


Bad weather in Sabah causes spike in property damage
OLIVIA MIWIL New Straits Times 18 Oct 17;

KOTA KINABALU: The state Fire and Rescue department has received 147 calls related to bad weather, among them of fallen trees and damage to cars, the past three days.

The Meteorological Department had issued a statement that heavy rain and strong winds are expected at the west coast of Sabah during the period.

The Fire and Rescue department spokesperson said 110 complaints were lodged about fallen trees at their areas.

"There are 72 reports of trees falling across roads, 23 of them hitting houses, 11 damaging electricity poles and four damaging cars."

Meanwhile, Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd (SESB) also received many calls related to power disruption due to fallen trees.

"We have to add more personnel to speed up power restoration."


Flood worsens in Kota Belud; river levels hit dangerous mark
OLIVIA MIWIL New Straits Times 19 Oct 17;

KOTA BELUD: Flood evacuees here have increased from 128 people last night to 144 this morning.

According to the Civil Defence Department, rain is still pounding the area.

The victims, who are taking shelter at the Tun Said community hall, are from Kampung Donggoi, Kampung Marajah, Kampung Gunding, Kampung Sadok-Sadok, Kampung Sembirai, Kampung Lingkodo, Kampung Linau, Kampung Lebak Moyoh and Kampung Suang Punggur.

The road connecting Kampung Marajah and Kampung Donggoi is now impassable to all vehicles.

Meanwhile, Sungai Tempasuk has reached its warning level, while Sungai Abai has hit its dangerous mark.


110 trees fall onto roads, houses, vehicles amidst strong winds in Sabah
Bernama New Straits Times 19 Oct 17;

KOTA KINABALU: Strong winds and torrential rain have felled at least 110 trees across urban and suburban areas in the state since Monday, the Sabah Fire and Rescue Department said.

"Seventy-two trees fell on main roads, 23 on houses, 11 on (utility) poles and four on vehicles.

“(However), there are no reports of injuries or casualties,” the Department’s operations centre said in a statement on Wednesday night.

It added that 34 cases of uprooted trees were recorded on Monday, 30 on Tuesday and 46 on Wednesday. -- BERNAMA


Continuous downpour wreaks havoc in Sabah
stephanie lee The Star 20 Oct 17;

KOTA KINABALU: The continuous downpour in Sabah has resulted in landslides as well as hundreds of calls relating to fallen trees.

Sabah Fire and Rescue Department division operations chief Khatizah Rahaban said 454 people from 171 families in Kota Belud district have been rescued and sent to temporary shelters due to the floods.

She said the numbers have increased over the past few days.

Landslips were also reported in Minintod and Bukit Melinsung along the Papar-Kota Kinabalu near here.

Khatizah said there were no reports of injuries or casualties.

According to the Meteorological Department's website, the rains and strong winds are expected to persist until Oct 21.

The affected areas include Kota Kinabalu, Penampang, Kota Belud. Kuala Penyu, Beaufort, Sipitang, Tenom, Keningau, Tambunan, Kudat and Labuan and some parts of Sarawak.

It is understood that the storms are due to Typhoon Lan in the Philippines.

Many areas in Sabah hit by flooding
stephanie lee The Star 21 Oct 17;

KOTA KINABALU: Many areas in Sabah are flooded, with the Kota Belud district being the worst hit.

Thousands of villagers are believed to be affected by the flood waters.

An aerial view of the Kota Belud showed the district submerged in water, as it had been continuously pouring for almost a week now.
Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) geologist Dr Felix Tongkul said the floods can be seen as a result of the 2015 earthquake and the hundreds of aftershocks that have loosened earth and boulders from the mountains.

The Kota Belud district is situated close to mountainous areas.

“Almost all the villagers along the Kadamaian river suffered severe flooding,” he said.

“It appears that my worst fear on the post impact of the June 5 Mount Kinabalu earthquake in 2015 has become a reality,” he said.

Tongkul said he was told by some villagers that even areas that have never experienced flooding were hit this time.

He said the series of debris and mud floods which occurred after the quake had made the Kadamaian river channel shallower due to sedimentation.

“This is making the situation and floods worse each time it rains as the river can no longer cope with the huge amount of rain especially water that flows from Mount Kinabalu,” he said.

The numbers of displaced villagers in Kota Belud is also increasing, with the Civil Defence Department recording some 1, 729 people being evacuated as of Saturday morning.

He said their officials together with other agencies including firemen were facing difficulties in ascertaining the extend of flooding as many roads were not passable due to the floods.

However, Mohd Izaimi said they were working closely with the various rescue agencies to find alternative routes and evacuate villagers.

In Tuaran, about 300 people have been evacuated as well.

Other affected areas include Kota Kinabalu, Penampang, Kuala Penyu, Beaufort, Sipitang, Tenom, Keningau, Tambunan, Kudat and Labuan and some parts of Sarawak.

According to the Meteorological Department's website, the rains and strong winds are expected to persist until Oct 21.

It is understood that the storms are due to Typhoon Lan in the Philippines.



Kota Belud is worst hit by flood waters
The Star 22 Oct 17;

An aerial view showed the district partially submerged in water, as it has been continuously pouring for almost a week.

Universiti Malaysia Sabah geologist Dr Felix Tongkul said the flood was a result of the 2015 earthquake and aftershocks that loosened the earth and boulders from the mountains.

Kota Belud is situated below the mountains.


“My worst fear on the post impact of the June 5, 2015, Mount Kinabalu earthquake has become a reality,” he said.

Dr Felix said he was told by some villagers that even areas that have never experienced flooding were hit this time.

He said debris and mudslides after the quake had made the Kadamaian river channel shallower due to sedimentation.

This worsens the flood situation each time it rains, as the river can no longer cope with the huge amount of rain, especially water that flows from Mount Kinabalu, Dr Felix said.

The number of displaced villagers in Kota Belud has risen, with the Civil Defence Department recording some 1,824 people being evacuated as of yesterday.

Department acting director Lt-Kol Mohd Izaimi Md Daud said these evacuees were placed in seven temporary shelters including the Tun Said Community Centre, SMK Agama Tun Said school hall, SMK Taun Gusi I, Muhibah Tombol Hall, SMK Taun Gusi II and SMK Arshad.

He said the authorities were facing difficulty ascertaining the extent of flooding and trapped villagers as many roads were not passable.

“The floodwater currents are quite strong and we have limited assets,” he said.

However, he said, they are working closely with the rescue agencies to find alternative routes to evacuate villagers. In Tuaran, 120 people have been evacuated.

Other affected areas include Kota Kinabalu, Penampang, Kuala Penyu, Beaufort, Sipitang, Tenom, Ke­­ningau, Tambunan, Kudat, Labuan and some parts of Sarawak.

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