Best of our wild blogs: 30 Oct 16

Grass Blues of Singapore
Butterflies of Singapore

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Bats can be model for human medicine

Audrey Tan, Straits Times AsiaOne 29 Oct 16;

Prof Wang, once nicknamed the Bat Virus Man, hopes to breed a colony of these flying mammals here as part of his research into infectious diseases, so he can uncover how they remain largely immune to deadly viruses such as Nipah, Hendra and Sars even while playing host to the organisms.

Bats are often viewed with distaste, except in Chinese culture, where the characters for bat, bian fu, evoke the term for prosperity, fu. So for the Chinese, bats are a symbol of good fortune and longevity.

Professor Wang Linfa, 56, from the Duke-NUS Medical School, believes there might be truth in this.
Although they are natural hosts of viruses such as Nipah, Hendra and Sars, bats themselves are largely immune to the deadly diseases.

They also have an average lifespan of 20 to 30 years - generally 10 to 20 times longer than that of their land-bound rodent cousins. Also, studies have shown that bats do not get cancer easily.

These are some reasons Prof Wang, who is director of the emerging infectious diseases programme at Duke-NUS, believes the study of bats could unlock novel cures for diseases in humans.

For more than 20 years, the Shanghai-born biochemist researched bat-borne viruses. Then in 2006, he decided there was a need to learn more about the bats themselves.

"I used to be nicknamed the Bat Virus Man. But now, it is probably more accurate to call me the Bat Man," he told The Straits Times with a chuckle.

He now hopes to breed a colony of bats in Singapore to learn more about them, as part of a study funded by the National Research Foundation (NRF).

He could not be drawn into giving more details about the project, but said: "Humans always dreamt of living long lives and, in a way, bats are a great model system to achieving that goal. After all, living long lives, being cancer-free and not getting deadly infectious diseases seem to be all linked."

An NRF spokesman said the research is supported under the foundation's Competitive Research Programme Funding Scheme, which funds use-inspired basic research up to a period of five years.

She noted: "Prof Wang's research was deemed by an international review panel to be cutting-edge, with potential relevance to Singapore.

"It could uncover strategies and mechanisms for novel drugs in cancer and infectious disease. It could also develop immunological research tools that could be commercialised."

So even as vampire bats rise among the ghouls that populate Halloween this weekend, remember, they might be more friend than foe.

Some bats found in Singapore

There are more than 1,000 species of bats in the world, 25 of which can be found in Singapore. Those here can be divided mainly into two groups: insect eaters, and species that prefer fruit or nectar.
Here are some examples of bats found in Singapore.


Most common of all fruit/nectar-eating bats here. It can be found in habitats ranging from orchards and gardens to forested tracts.


Not as common as the short- nosed fruit bat and can also be found across South-east Asia. In countries where it roosts in natural caves, uncontrolled tourism and mining are major threats.


Possibly the smallest bat in Singapore, this insect-eater can be found in secondary forests, parks and gardens. They are small enough to roost in the cavities of bamboo plants.

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Malaysia: Group airs videos in fight against illegal wildlife trade

The Star 30 Oct 16;

KOTA KINABALU: An organisation championing Asian biodiversity has posted four video clips on Facebook in its war against illegal wildlife and bushmeat traders.

The Kinabatangan-based Danau Girang Field Centre (DGFC) aims to discourage the sale and consumption of such wildlife products.

Its three-minute videos, which were jointly produced with the Sabah Wildlife Department and nature photography firm Scubazoo, contain graphic footage of slaughtered or caged animals.

DGFC director Dr Benoit Goossens said he hoped the clips would eventually be aired onboard flights coming to Malaysia, especially those arriving from China and Hong Kong.

He also said he would meet with state Tourism, Culture and Envir­onment Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun soon to ask for his help in getting the videos screened on the flights, at airports and in cinemas.

“The message we want to send is that those caught eating food like pangolin meat are liable to a RM5,000 fine.

“Eating illegal bushmeat can turn out to be a very expensive meal,” Dr Goossens added.

He said the clips – which are in Bahasa Malaysia, English and Mandarin – would also encourage the public to report illegal wildlife trade to the authorities.

He said DGFC uploaded the clips on social media because the sale of illegal bushmeat and wildlife products had become rampant on such sites.

“We have seen someone trying to sell a sun bear cub on Facebook.There are also those selling bushmeat on Instagram and WhatsApp.

“This is a serious situation in Malaysia and we want to do our part in addressing this problem,” Dr Goossens added.

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Malaysia: Armed enforcement team formed to protect forest reserves

The Star 30 Oct 16;

KOTA KINABALU: Trespassers into Sabah’s forest reserves are becoming more aggressive, prompting the state Forestry Department to form an armed enforcement team.

The intruders – mostly gaharu or sandalwood harvesters and poachers – do not hesitate to use weapons against forest rangers, according to department director Datuk Sam Mannan.

“Some of these culprits are foreigners. They do not want to go back to their home countries empty-­handed, so they are getting more vicious,” he said after launching the department’s Protect Squad at Labuk Forest Reserve near Sandak­an on Friday.

Mannan noted that a department officer was attacked at Kampung Sugut in the east coast Beluran district last year.

Earlier this year, a ranger fell victim to assailants in the northern Kota Belud district, he said.

“Our personnel are facing potentially dangerous situations now,” he added, citing a case at the Silabukan Forest Reserve near Lahad Datu last year, in which they stumbled on a man who turned out to be a militant from southern Philippines.

Mannan said the Protect Squad would have an initial batch of 25 personnel trained by the military in intelligence gathering, as well as enforcement and ambush techniques.

The selected forest rangers were also trained in self-defence, hand-to-hand combat and weapons handling.

He said the department was also expanding its canine unit to four tracker dogs as part of efforts to boost protection and increase enforcement of forest reserves.

Mannan said almost 800 forestry offences had been committed in Sabah since 2011 and some of them involved China, Philippine and Indonesian nationals.

The department has detained 486 individuals for various forestry offences and 192 have been charged in court so far.

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Malaysia: Sungai Buah pollution has lasted too long for it to be an accident, says Minister

The Star 30 Oct 16;

KUCHING: A joint investigation into the source and cause of pollution in Sungai Buah, which flows into the Sungai Semenyih water treatment plant, will be carried out soon.

Bernama quoted Natural Resour­ces and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar as saying that he had directed the Department of Environment (DoE) to conduct a probe with the Selangor government.

The water contamination has affected more than a million consumers in the Klang Valley.

“Those responsible must be identified and brought to book.

“We have a number of laws to deal with the culprits such as the Local Government Ordinance, DoE laws and regulations and others with heavier penalties for such offences,” he said after distributing RM173,500 in grants to 70 groups in Santubong here yesterday.

Dr Wan Junaidi said he believed the pollution was not an accident as the problem had persisted for the past few days.

“Whether the people or factory owners are careless, ignorant or not concerned at all about the impact of discharging their waste water into the river... we will get to the root of this.

“However, we will only investigate and then refer our findings to the Attorney-General’s Chambers to decide on the prosecution,” he said.

Dr Wan Junaidi said he had received numerous reports on the situation in Sungai Buah, said to be due to pollution discharges from industrial areas in Nilai, Negri Sembilan.

On Thursday, Selangor state exco member Elizabeth Wong said the substance contaminating Sungai Buah was 4-Bromodiphenyl ether, which is normally used as a fire retardant.

In Klang, Wong said water was now free of the substance after 10 tonnes of activated carbon was placed at the source of the contamination in Nilai, as well as in Sungai Buah in Negri Sembilan.

“The compound has bonded to the activated carbon. The river water now records zero reading in the Threshold Odour Number.

“However, the contaminated water at the source of the pollution in Nilai is still there and is being diverted to a nearby pond to be treated,” she added.

Wong said two more bunds were also being constructed to contain the overflow onsite and to treat the water.

Authorities had earlier built a bund across Sungai Buah to stop the water from flowing into Sungai Semenyih but it gave way after a heavy downpour on Friday, forcing the Sungai Semenyih water treatment plant to cease operations at 4.15pm.

“We are building these bunds because if it rains heavily in Nilai, there will be too much volume and pressure on the existing bund,” she said, adding that activated carbon would also be placed at these bunds.

Wong also accused the water authorities in Negri Sembilan of refusing to help clean the source of pollution in Nilai.

Wan Junaidi: Integrated investigation into source, cause of Sungai Buah pollution
The Star 29 Oct 16;

KUCHING: An integrated investigation on the source and cause of pollution in Sungai Buah which flows into the Sungai Semenyih water treatment plant will be carried out soon.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar (pic) said he had directed the DOE director general to conduct the investigation together with the Selangor state government.

The contaminated water is affecting more than a million consumers in Klang Valley.

He told the media this, today, after distributing minor rural development project grants totalling RM173,500 to 70 associations and organisations in his Santubong parliamentary constituency here.

"We must identify and bring to book those responsible.

"We should use whatever laws we have and we have a number to deal with the culprits such as the Local Government Ordinance, DOE laws and regulations and others with heavier penalties for such offences," he said Saturday.

He believed the pollution was not done accidentally as the problem had persisted for the past two to three days.

"Whether people or the factory owners are careless, ignorant or not concerned at all of the impact of discharging their waste water into the river....we will get to the root of this.

"But I must emphasise here, we will only investigate and will then refer our findings to the Attorney-General's Chambers to decide on the prosecution," he said.

Wan Junaidi said he had received numerous reports on what was happening in Sungai Buah, said to be affected by pollution discharges from industrial areas in Nilai, Negri Sembilan. - Bernama

Polluted water still flowing to Semenyih treatment plant, say authorities
ESTHER LANDAU New Straits Times 29 Oct 16;

KUCHING: The Natural Resources and Environment Ministry have received reports on contaminated water samples taken from Sungai Buah in Nilai, Negri Sembilan, which flows into the Sungai Semenyih Water Treatment Plant.

The closure of the plant due to pollution had affected some 1.6 million Selangor residents.

Its Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said the ministry has taken several actions to resolve the water pollution problems, aided by a joint task force from the Federal and Selangor government, Department of Environment, Selangor Water Management Authority (Luas), and local authorities.

He said work has been ongoing to pump the polluted water out from Sungai Buah.

Repair works on bunds along the river also took place yesterday. However, as of 9pm, the polluted water is still flowing from the river to Semenyih and has affected the water treatment plant.

“Therefore, the water treatment plant had to stop operating,” said Wan Junaidi.

The minister was speaking at a grant-presentation ceremony to recipients of the Santubong district, at his office here today.

Compounding matters, the downpour last night worsened the situation as the odour pollution could still be detected.

He said the ministry had instructed the Department of Environment and Selangor Government to conduct a joint research to identify the culprits involved in the pollution.

Wan Junaidi said that the person or company, if found guilty of causing contamination to the river, could be charged under the Water Services Industry Act 2006, which he said would carry heavier penalties.

Dry taps put damper on Selangor folks' Deepavali celebration
JUNE MOH New Straits Times 29 Oct 16;

KUALA LUMPUR: For the Hindu community in USJ 4 Casablanca in Subang Jaya, the Selangor's water woes have definitely left a mark on their Deepavali celebrations.

USJ 4 Casablanca Residents' Association president Jeyanthy Pillai said the community at the area is not in the mood to celebrate the Hindu festival of lights due to inconsistent water supply that has practically disrupted their preparation for the occasion.

“On Deepavali eve, we were happy as water came trickling in our water pipes.

Today, there was no water in the morning and we are not able to cook heavy dishes like curry.

There is also no running water to clean our cooking utensils. We have to use water sparingly.

“I was able to cook some light dishes in the morning, such as coconut candies, Kara Murukku and Sweet Semolina Balls from the water we had collected yesterday,” Jeyanthy said.

Jeyanthi said she could not invite friends and relatives to her house due to the water cut in the morning but in the evening, when water supply resumed at around 4pm, she was able to cook main dishes for the occasion to have a late Deepavali celebration with her family.

Despite the water shortage, she said, the residents in USJ 4 Casa Blanca had been sending Deepavali wishes to one another in the community’s WhatApps group chat.

“During this entire water crisis, we made more friends with our neighbours, we started sharing and communicating... and we really started caring for each other, that is what life is all about, to create a loving heart for all living beings.” she said.

It was reported that the Sungai Semenyih water treatment plant has resumed operations at 3.15am today, some 11 hours after it was forced to shut down yesterday.

The plant had to be temporarily closed at 4.15pm when the bund at Sungai Buah in Nilai, Negri Sembilan, built to stop contaminated water from flowing into Sungai Semenyih, broke during a downpour.

Water disruption dampens Deepavali celebrations
KATHLEEN MICHAEL The Star 29 Oct 16;

PETALING JAYA: The water disruption in four districts in Selangor has dampened the Deepavali celebrations.

The Petaling, Hulu Langat, Kuala Langat and Sepang districts were affected after the Sungai Semenyih water treatment plant was shut down for the fourth time in two months on Oct 23.

The plant was shut down due to pollution, but was back in operation with water channelled to reservoirs in stages as of 3.15am Saturday.

S. Selvi, 50 who lives in Putra Permai, Seri Kembangan got her water supply back at 9am, but decided to celebration the rest of the day’s celebrations at her sister’s place in Klang.

“We’ve been depending on our water tank and for Deepavali, I cooked a lot less than I would normally, because we don’t know if water will be cut again,” she said.

In some other areas, residents like Lat Mayar, 52 in Bandar Puteri Puchong has decided to postpone celebrations because water supply has not resumed.

“My family’s celebration is quiet this year. I’ll be visiting homes instead of having an open house,” she said.

Though water tankers are sent to their area, she said they come at working hours when she is not around to collect water for her elderly parents.

She added that the water cuts is frustrating, as it does not follow the schedule.

In Bandar Bukit Puchong, P. Komalam, 67 has been miserable and stressed out over the water disruption but did not let it stop her from having an open house.

She served food in brown wax paper and drinks in paper cups.

“We had water a few days ago and I’ve stored enough but we still limit our use,” she said.

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Malaysia: Cloud seeding to be conducted in Negri Sembilan

The Star 29 Oct 16;

SEREMBAN: Negri Sembilan will conduct cloud seeding to raise the water level in dams and rivers in the state, said its Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan (pic).

He said the state disaster management committee had been instructed to discuss the matter and the Meterological Department had agreed to conduct cloud seeding in Jelebu, Kuala Pilah, Jempol and Tampin.

"At present, we have the right type of clouds, cumulonimbus for cloud seeding and therefore it should be done.

"After that I hope it rains heavily, especially in these areas which are upstream," he told reporters after the Deepavali open house hosted by National MIC information chief Datuk V.S. Mogan here Saturday.

He also said the disaster management committee was in the process of studying proposals to have water rationing if the water level continued to decrease. - Bernama

N. Sembilan MB urges mosques to pray for rain as drought takes its toll
NUR AQIDAH AZIZI New Straits Times 29 Oct 16;

SEREMBAN: The state government has urged all mosques in the state to hold special prayers for rain, as water levels in rivers across Negri Sembilan continue to drop amidst a lingering dry spell.

Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan said the current rainfall could only provide 50 per cent of the water source for the rivers.

“We have been asking all mosques to hold prayers since last week, and Alhamdulillah, it has rained for the past few days,” said Mohamad.

He said the state Disaster Management Committee will also be conducting cloud seeding operations across the state, including in Kuala Pilah, Jelebu, Jempol and Tampin.

“Current weather conditions are not too dry, which is suitable for cloud seeding. We hope the plan can be conducted soon, and that it will help produce heavy rainfall in the affected areas,” he said. M

ohamad added that the state government’s plan to implement water rationing could be put on hold if the cloud seeding operation is successful.

“In case the operation fails, we have to proceed with water rationing. We do not want to burden the people here, but we will be facing a bigger problem if we don’t take any action. Let’s use water wisely,” he said.

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Malaysia: Flash floods bring Penang to its knees on Deepavali

PHUAH KEN LIN New Straits Times 29 Oct 16;

GEORGE TOWN: For the second time in two months, flash floods brought Penang to its knees, halting traffic and submerging homes in various parts of the city.

The floods, which have become a perennial problem on the island, also meant that a bleak Deepavali was on the cards for the Hindu community.

In Jalan P. Ramlee and arterial roads at Bandar Baru Air Itam, more than 100 houses were submerged in knee-deep water, forcing residents to salvage whatever they can.

Several roads in Lebuhraya Thean Teik and Jalan Thean Teik were also badly flooded, leaving dozens of cars submerged and their owners ruing the damages.

Floods waters also struck Jalan Masjid Negeri, one of the island's main arterial roads. Water levels rose quickly, reducing traffic to a crawl. Several cars which later attempted to brave the flood waters ended up stalled halfway.

The water also seeped into the common area on the ground floor at a densely-populated block of flats in Bandar Baru Air Itam.

Among the areas affected by flash floods were Jalan Paya Terubong and Taman Lumba Kuda.

An uprooted tree also reportedly hit a parked vehicle at Jalan Patani.

The rain started about 3pm. Flood waters rose quickly and reached waist level at several places at flood-prone places in Jalan P Ramlee and its vicinity.

A grim atmosphere was evident as residents waded through the floods to salvage their belongings and transfer their household items to higher ground.

The entire section of the road was cordoned off, as residents at the nearby Sungai Pinang residential area chipped in to help the affected residents.

A dejected Mohamad Rafiq Jalil, 46, who lives off Jalan P. Ramlee, lamented the losses he has to endure each time flash floods hit his neighborhood.

Rafiq vented his fury on the state government and local authorities, whom he claimed tended to shift the blame on Mother Nature for the floods.

"I am tired of hearing repeated excuses from the state government, attributing the flash floods to the so-called 'King' Tide and tidal change pattern.

"Nothing has been done to mitigate the flash floods for far too long, I am saddened that the analysis and much-politicised flood mitigation schemes have come to nothing," he said.

Another resident, S. Rajasekaran, 62, said he is at his wits' end. He claimed he has given up hope that Penang's flood problems will be resolved in his lifetime.

"I doubt the state government knows what it's doing, we suffer each time it pours.

"Our plight has fallen on deaf ears and there is no way we can recover the hefty losses due to the damages over the years," he said.

Meanwhile, a near tragedy was averted when a landslip occurred at a hillslope in Paya Terubong behind several high-rise buildings.

The loose earth came crashing down the hillslope and missed several parked cars.

The downpour petered out by 8pm. There has been no word yet on the extent of the damages.

Last month, floods hit Bayan Baru, leaving residents scrambling for safety.

Environment civil liberties group Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) had then urged the Penang government to investigate and take immediate action to resolve the flash floods problem.

Its president S.M. Mohamed Idris had claimed that its survey showed that rapid development and failure of the drainage system to function effectively during heavy rain had triggered the flash floods.

Environmental groups had also blamed rampant development as among the factors for the floods. Flash floods had also submerged parts of Penang in May and July.

Heavy rains, flash floods, make for a miserable Deepavali in Penang
PHUAH KEN LIN New Straits Times 29 Oct 16;

GEORGE TOWN: Continuous heavy rainfall has put a damper on Deepavali celebrations here today, with flash floods hitting many low-lying areas of the city.

Rising waters have reached knee-level at flood-prone locations such as Jalan P Ramlee and its vicinity, as well as the highly-populated Bandar Baru Air Itam.

Flood waters have reportedly streamed into the ground floors of high-density flats in Bandar Baru Air Itam.

At Lebuhraya Thean Teik and Jalan Masjid Negeri, two of the city’s main arterial roads, flash floods have reduced traffic to a crawl.

Cars have stalled along flooded roads, and residents could be seen wading through rising waters. An uprooted tree is reported to have crashed onto a parked vehicle at Jalan Patani.

No one has been reported displaced or injured so far.

Three-hour rain triggers traffic woes and disruption in hill railway services

GEORGE TOWN: The Deepavali celebration was cut short for many Hindu families after a heavy rain swept though many parts of the island.

Lawyer Dev Kumaraendran said traffic was especially bad in Jalan Masjid Negeri after a flood occurred in the area yesterday.

“The plastic barricades placed along the road were floating around because of the flood water and this worsened the traffic congestion.

“We were travelling back from George Town to Jalan Masjid Negeri after watching a movie and doing some Deepavali shopping,” he said when contacted.

Consumers Association of Penang education officer N.V. Subbarow said Hindus celebrating Deepavali in Penang were angry at the floods but not the rain.

“People who want to visit their friends in the late evening were either stuck at home or on the road due to poor flood management system.”

Sungai Air Hitam burst its banks causing the water to spill into several major roads such as Jalan Masjid Negeri and Scotland Road.

A check on the Public InfoBanjir website of the Department of Drainage and Irrigation (DID) found that the Sungai Pinang water level was at 2.89m, exceeding the danger level at 6pm yesterday.

Traffic came to a standstill at several low-lying grounds in the state.

Among the worst hit were Lebuhraya Thean Teik and Jalan Thean Teik in Bandar Baru Air Itam where water rose to knee-level.

Engineer M.H. Wong, 34, said the water reached knee-level at about 5pm in Lebuhraya Thean Teik.

“I was stuck in a traffic jam in front of All Seasons Place for more than an hour. Traffic has never been bad along this road.”

Air Itam assemblyman Wong Hon Wai when contacted said firemen were on site to assist traffic and assess the flood situation.

Landslides also occurred within a 50m stretch along the hilly road leading to the Air Itam Dam as well as Bandar Baru Air Itam.

Hikers were told to descend the hill on foot and to leave their vehicles behind on the hill as the road was impassable to traffic.

The Penang Hill funicular train services were also interrupted for several minutes after a tree branch fell on the track. It was later removed by firemen and services resumed.

Floods were also reported in Jalan P. Ramlee, Taman Lumba Kuda and Jalan Paya Terubong,

Major traffic congestion was also seen in Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway following an accident where a car overturned near Bayan Mutiara in Bayan Lepas.

Heavy traffic was also spotted in Lebuh Bukit Jambul, Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah, Jalan Tengku Kudin, Jalan Hamilton, Jalan Bagan Jermal, Jalan Datuk Keramat and Jalan Free School.

State DID in a statement said about 600 people from 300 homes were affected by the flood following three hours of continuous rain from 4.30pm in the northeast district of Penang but there was no evacuation.

“The floods were caused by an unsystematic drainage system,” the statement said, adding that the system needed to be upgraded and the developments closely monitored.

Flash floods are becoming a normal occurrence in Penang with the worst being reported in July.

Teluk Bahang residents said that was one of the worst flash floods in recent years, with about 300 houses affected by the rising waters.

A total of 12 flights were rescheduled at the Penang International Airport in Bayan Lepas.

On Oct 18, heavy rain lasting more than two hours coupled with the king tide phenomenon resulted in Kampung Manis, Prai, and the Telok Ipil, Nibong Tebal, on the mainland being inundated by 3.1m of water.

In September, about 45 homes were damaged when it flooded in Kampung Dodol, Kampung Makam, Jalan Singora, Jalan P. Ramlee and Jalan Air Terjun. A 20-year-old Nepali plantation worker was crushed to death after an oil palm tree fell on him during the four-hour rainstorm.

Flooding causes Penang traffic standstill
CHRISTOPHER TAN The Star 29 Oct 16;

GEORGE TOWN: Traffic came to a standstill after a downpour swept through several areas in Penang, including Bandar Baru Air Itam, Bayan Lepas and Air Itam.

Rising water levels were also recorded at Lebuhraya Thean Teik, Jalan Masjid Negeri, Jalan P. Ramlee, Jalan Zoo in Air Itam and Scotland Road.

Engineer M.H Wong said that the water reached knee-level at about 5pm in Lebuhraya Thean Teik.

"I was stuck in a traffic jam in front of All Seasons Place for more than an hour,” he said when contacted.

Nine rescued after landslide in Penang
The Star 29 Oct 16;

GEORGE TOWN: Nine people were trapped in a temple and in a car due to a landslide in Air Itam here.

The landslide – which happened at about 6.28pm – took place on the route towards the Air Itam dam near a Buddhist temple.

Nine firemen were deployed to the scene and all four who were trapped in a car were successfully rescued.

However, those present at the temple refused to leave.

"The Fire and Rescue Department received a call from one of the victims trapped We had deployed our officers and due to heavy rain and traffic gridlock, we had arrived at the scene at 7.46pm," said the fire and rescue spokesperson in a statement.

Authorities had confirmed that the area was safe and not in danger as rescue operation ended at 8.09pm. - Bernama

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Indonesia peak rainy season expected in January, February 2017

Antara 29 Oct 16;

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesia is expecting the rainy season to peak in January and February 2017, according to the Meteorological, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency (BMKG).

"The rainy season will peak in January and February, particularly for Jakarta," BMKG Chief Andi Eka Sakya said here.

This year, rainfall has been 50 percent normal, however, because of natural phenomena such as Dipole Mode and La Nina, the country has been experiencing high intensity rainfall.

"Besides, there is monsoon (a seasonal reversing wind accompanied by corresponding changes in precipitation), and there is also a tropical cyclone and low pressure in the region," he noted.

The peak rainy season in January and February 2017 is forecast to be less wet than that in early 2016, BMKG Deputy in Charge of Meteorology Yunus Swarinoto said.

However, it has tended to be of a longer duration, according to Mulyono R Prabowo, head of the Public Meteorology Center of BMKG.

The intensity might be less than the previous year, but the duration is expected to be longer, and this could trigger hydro-meteorological disasters such as landslide and flooding, he said.

Therefore, the agency has urged people living in disaster-prone areas to remain vigilant in order to mitigate disaster and prevent casualties.
(Uu.F001/INE/KR-BSR/F001) 29-10-2016 11:48:48

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