Malaysia: Sarawak hit by severe floods

YU JI AND ANDY CHUA The Star 19 Jan 15;

KUCHING: While floodwaters in the east coast of the peninsula have largely receded, continuous rain over the past three days have caused floods in Kuching, Kota Samarahan, Mukah, Simunjan and Limbang.

The Meteorological Department has issued an “orange” alert warning for heavy rain until today over Kuching, Samarahan, Sri Aman, Betong, Sarikei, Sibu, Mukah and Bintulu, placing many low-lying areas and settlements by riverbanks at risk of rising floodwaters.

Shalihan Annuar, the National Security Council’s assistant secretary for Sarawak, said as of 9.50pm, at least 1,023 people from all over the state had been evacuated.

Among the worst hit areas were Padawan and Simunjan, about 100km from Kuching, where nine villages are inundated. Further north at Balingian in the coastal town of Mukah, 35 families were evacuated.

Shalihan said 99 families were also moved to relief centres as floodwaters rose rapidly at Limbang.

“The exact number of evacuees is not known yet,” he said, adding that the numbers were expected to increase.

Several major roads in Sarawak were also under water last night, including Jalan Jemukan in Samarahan, Jalan Kampung Selabi and Tempurong in Serian, Jalan Kuching-Serian Lama in Siburan, Jalan Ranau Baru in Lawas, and Jalan Utama, Oya and Sungai Ud in Dalat.

“Four landslides have also been reported in the Bau and Padawan areas,” he said.

A 17-year-old girl was reported missing after a longboat sank in the Batang Mukah river during heavy rain at 6am yesterday.

Atikah Rosli of Kampung Tanjung, was with three other passengers, who managed to swim to safety.

Mukah Fire and Rescue Department chief Alimat Sam said the boat was believed to have overturned due to strong currents.

Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem told reporters that the situation was under control.

“We are prepared for any eventualities,” he said after visiting the Kuching Barrage, which regulates the Sarawak River.

Data from the Irrigation and Drainage Department showed that areas in and around Kuching received between 54mm and 125mm of rain yesterday.

Flash floods hit Sarawak
YU JI The Star 19 Jan 15;

KUCHING: Flash floods hit several low-lying areas in southern and central Sarawak since pre-dawn, Sunday, after almost three days of incessant rain.

According to the National Security Council, so far, 56 people have been evacuated in Mukah, a seaside town in central Sarawak, about a two-hour drive from Sibu.

In the state capital, incidents of flash flooding have occurred at several residential and commercial estates.

One of the worst affected areas here is at Univista Garden, between the city centre and Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, where waters were about three-feet high around 10am.

Resident Abang Rosman told The Star that flood waters entered his house around 4am.

Another resident Dayang Hummida Abang Rahman blamed the drainage system.

"The drains are too small. It only took 30 minutes between the drains becoming full and water entering my house," she said.

The Malaysian Meteorological Department has issued an "Orange Stage" heavy rain warning for the divisions of Kuching, Samarahan, Sri Aman, Betong, Sarikei, Sibu, Mukah and Bintulu.

The forecast is for the rain to persist until Monday.

According to data from the Irrigation and Drainage Department, areas in Kuching recorded between 30mm and 98mm of rainfall since midnight.

Strong Wind In Several Areas To Continue Until Tuesday
Bernama 18 Jan 15;

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 18 (Bernama) -- Strong north-easterly winds blowing over the waters of Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang, East Johor, Sarawak, Sabah (Interior, West Coast and Kudat) and Labuan are expected to continue until Tuesday (Jan 20).

According to a statement issued by the Meteorological Department, the strong winds with a speed of between 50 and 60 kmph and waves up to a height of 4.5 metres were dangerous for all shipping and coastal activities including fishing and ferry services.

"In addition, the coastal areas in Kelantan, Terengganu and East Johor are exposed to a rising sea level until tomorrow," it said.

The department also warned that strong north-easterly winds with speeds of 40 to 50 kmph and waves as high as 3.5 metres blowing over Sabah (Sandakan) waters were expected to continue until Tuesday and the condition was dangerous for small boats, sea recreation and sea sports.

Meanwhile, thunder storms over the waters of Sarawak and strong winds with speeds of 50 to 60 kmph and waves of as high as 4.5 metres would continue until late this afternoon.

The statement added that the situation in other areas including the waters of Condore, Reef North, Layang-layang, Palawan, Samui, Tioman, Bunguran, Kuching, Labuan and Sulu which were experiencing strong winds with speeds of between 50 to 60 kmph was expected to continue until Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the thunder storm alert in the waters of Bunguran, Reef South and Kuching with waves reaching up to 4.5 metres and the waters of Sulawesi with waves of up to 3.5 metres high, was expected to persist until late this afternoon.

The condition would be dangerous for all coastal and shipping activities.


Flood: Garbage to be cleared by month-end
New Straits Times 18 Jan 15;

PEKAN: By month-end, the Solid Waste Management and Public Cleansing Corporation will clear garbage sedimented by floods at several districts in Pahang.

Its chief executive offi cer, Datuk Ab Rahim Md Noor said to date, 60 per cent of the 25,000 tonnes of garbage at flood-affected areas had been cleared.

“God-willing, the balance of the 40 per cent will be disposed off at the end of this month.

“Temerloh has the most garbage due to the floods, at 20,000 tonnes, 80 per cent of which has been cleared,” he said.

He was speaking to reporters at the corporation’s Humanitarian Mission Help Flood Victims ceremony, together with the Mata Hati Association at Taman Pelangkah near here today.

During the ceremony, Ab Rahim and the corporation staff took part in a gotong-royong with residents to clean up the area which was inundated by the recent floods.

Meanwhile, Ab Rahim, who is also the association president, said the corporation and the association would join forces to help flood victims in the state to repair electrical goods damaged by floods.

“We have association members comprising community college students who can repair electrical items. “In addition, we will also hold numerous activities to boost awareness among the public on cleanliness and factors contributing to floods,” he added.


High tide ends brief respite in Sarawak

KUCHING: There was a brief respite for flood evacuees in the state after the rain stopped at around noon, allowing the closure of three relief centres.

However, when high tide came at 4pm yesterday, the waters rose again, causing the number of evacuees to climb to 5,178 — the highest since shelters opened on Sunday evening.

At 5pm, two stations along Sara­wak River showed readings above the danger level while three others were at the warning level.

According to the National Security Council, 34 shelters were opened across Sarawak by evening, of which 19 were in the Kuching division, serving 2,677 evacuees.

Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Alfred Jabu Numpang said the Kuching Barrage would close and open according to the tide level, pointing out that flood gates at the Sarawak River mouth could “quite effectively” control the inflow and outflow of water.

During high tide, the Kuching Barrage would close and only open if swift currents from upstream push up the water level.

Jabu, who is state disaster relief committee chairman, said he did not expect the flood situation to worsen as long as it did not rain continuously like it did over the weekend.

Starting today until Sunday, tides are likely to be even higher.

Today, high tide is estimated at 6m around 5pm.The Drainage and Irrigation De­­part­­ment is forecasting the “king tide” to hit 6.3m on Thursday and Friday between 6.30pm and 7.30pm.

The Malaysian Meteorological De­­­partment extended its “orange stage” heavy rain warning (originally due to end yesterday morning) for another day. The warning covers the Kuching, Samarahan, Sri Aman, Betong, Sarikei, Sibu, Mukah and Bintulu divisions.

In Mukah, the body of a 17-year old girl, who went missing on Sunday when a longboat she was travelling on with four others capsized in Sungai Mukah, has been found.

Mukah Fire and Rescue Depart­ment chief Alimat Sam said the body of Atikah Rosli was found by a fisherman at 8.05am yesterday about 7km from where the boat overturned due to strong waves.

In Miri, some 10 settlements in various parts of the middle basin of Ulu Baram in northern Sarawak have been cut off from the outside world as floodwaters reached remote areas of the state.

As at press time yesterday, parts of the Mulu National Park were flooded following a day of incessant rain.

Telang Usan assemblyman Dennis Ngau said the latest round of floods in Baram was more severe than the first one about two weeks ago.

“This time, more settlements are flooded, with the water level at some places more than a metre high,” he said.