Over 1,000 people affected as floods cause damage in Sarawak

A house toppled by flood waters in Sarawak. The State Disaster Relief Committee is coordinating emergency food aid, but much of Sarawak's interior is underdeveloped, hampering relief efforts.
A house toppled by flood waters in Sarawak. The State Disaster Relief Committee is coordinating emergency food aid, but much of Sarawak's interior is underdeveloped, hampering relief efforts.PHOTO: SARAWAK FIRE AND RESCUE DEPARTMENT

MIRI (Sarawak) • Devastating floods have been causing widespread damage in northern and central Sarawak since Wednesday, affecting more than 1,000 people in the east Malaysia state.

One of the hard-hit areas was Long Busang, a settlement about 500km south of coastal city Miri, which saw many houses toppled and properties damaged by flood waters that reached as high as 5m.

Long Busang is located in the Hulu Rejang parliamentary constituency.

"There is serious damage to homes and properties due to the severity of the floods... They need help from the outside world to recover from this disaster," said Mr Abun Sui, chairman of the Parti Keadilan Rakyat branch in Hulu Rejang, referring to the more than 1,000 residents in Long Busang.

Much of interior Sarawak is underdeveloped, hampering aid efforts in hard-to-reach areas.

The State Disaster Relief Committee is coordinating the deployment of emergency food aid to Long Busang, which is a three-hour river ride from Belaga, the nearest town.

Consignments of food and drinking water are being sent to the flood victims, who have been relocated to higher ground.

State Disaster Relief Committee secretariat chief Major Ismail Mahedin said numerous agencies were handling food-aid efforts, including the Welfare Department, Sarawak Fire and Rescue Department and the Civil Defence Department.

Relief operations were also carried out in the flood-hit districts of Baram and Tinjar, in the interior northern Sarawak.

Among the affected areas were Long Loyang in Baram and Ulu Teru in Tinjar, which saw waters reach 1m high.

 

Residents remained on the upper floor of their longhouses and were not evacuated.

The Sarawak Fire and Rescue Department said the floods in these northern districts were showing signs of receding.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 07, 2019, with the headline 'Over 1,000 people affected as floods cause damage in Sarawak'. Print Edition | Subscribe