West coast Sabah residents braced for wet Christmas

KOTA KINABALU • Residents in Kota Belud in west coast Sabah are bracing themselves for a wet Christmas as Tropical Storm Tembin is set to hit the northern district soon.

The district has flooded 94 times so far this year.

Farmer Modisin Rankig is resigned to the possibility of his village in Kampung Tompod being flooded again. "Just last week, we were hit by floods. Now, there is a forecast of a strong storm coming which brings with it bouts of heavy rain," he said.

Mr Modisin, who is also the village security and development committee chairman, said most of the houses are on a hill. "But the roads are flooded up to one metre, so we are not able to leave our homes," he said. "If it happens on Christmas Day, we can't get to church."

Mr Modisin said he was also worried that the coming floods could wipe out his 4ha padi field that was about to be harvested. "We are praying hard to have a peaceful Christmas," he added.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan, said Kota Belud has become a critical flood prone area, with some of the district's 93,000 residents being evacuated nine times over the past year. The situation was due to the mouth of the Sungai Kadamaian becoming shallow after it was filled with tonnes of rock and mud in the wake of the Mount Kinabalu earthquake in 2015.

FLOOD-PRONE SITE

Just last week, we were hit by floods. Now, there is a forecast of a strong storm coming which brings with it bouts of heavy rain.

FARMER MODISIN RANKIG, on the possibility of his village in Kampung Tompod getting flooded yet again.

The Malaysian Meteorological Department had issued a warning for the tropical storm that was sweeping down on southern Philippines near Sabah. It said Tembin would pack with it winds gusting up to 60km/h with waves of more than 4.5m in Kudat, Sandakan and Tawau.

Last Friday, large cracks appeared on the 28km stretch of road between Tawau and the airport, following a 3.7-magnitude tremor in the east coast district.

Assistant Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister, Datuk Pang Yuk Ming, said the cracks appeared at two spots, some eight metres apart, about 18km from Tawau town, and only light vehicles can use the stretch.

THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on December 24, 2017, with the headline 'West coast Sabah residents braced for wet Christmas'. Print Edition | Subscribe