Govt to help with cleanup, rebuilding of damaged farms

Chicken houses at Chew's Agriculture (above) were flattened by the rain and winds on Friday. Workers in the affected farms were seen clearing the debris, like a metal roof that had been blown into a fish pond (below).
Chicken houses at Chew's Agriculture (above) were flattened by the rain and winds on Friday. Workers in the affected farms were seen clearing the debris, like a metal roof that had been blown into a fish pond.ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW
Chicken houses at Chew's Agriculture (above) were flattened by the rain and winds on Friday. Workers in the affected farms were seen clearing the debris, like a metal roof that had been blown into a fish pond (below).
Chicken houses at Chew's Agriculture were flattened by the rain and winds on Friday. Workers in the affected farms were seen clearing the debris, like a metal roof that had been blown into a fish pond (above).ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

The Government will support the cleanup and rebuilding efforts of Lim Chu Kang farmers whose premises were damaged by a torrential downpour and unusually strong winds on Friday, said Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry and National Development Koh Poh Koon.

Farms hit the hardest by Friday's storm were Chew's Agriculture, Williton Orchids, Koon Lee Nursery and Goh Swee Hoon fish farm.

Dr Koh gave the assurance of help in a Facebook post yesterday after visiting the farms in Murai Farmway, near the Lim Chu Kang Cemetery, along with the chief executives of the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) and the National Parks Board (NParks), as well as members of the Singapore Agro-Food Enterprises Federation.

At Chew's, an egg producer, some chicken houses were flattened. Stray chickens were seen picking their away among the debris which was their home less than two days ago.

The chicken farm declined to comment, but a farm employee said the driving rain, which started before 4pm on Friday, came in "like a tsunami". "Many chickens died. Some escaped," he said.

Another worker said: "Suddenly, the tin houses on both sides of the road started shaking. Everyone went inside, nobody dared to go outside. In 15 minutes, the trees started falling down."

Both declined to give their names as they were not authorised to speak to the press.

Damaged buildings and toppled trees were scattered along Murai Farmway when The Sunday Times paid a visit yesterday.

 

Tucked away in a side lane, Sevenseas Fisheries suffered fewer battle scars than its neighbour. But the fish and frog farm will still need at least two weeks before it returns to its former state, said operations manager Bernard Goh.

The family business stopped all operations on Friday when the storm tore through its premises.

"Yesterday, we couldn't operate at all. We are now trying to rush some major repairs so operations can run," said Mr Goh.

The damage included broken water pipes and electric cables, which cut off the farm's water filtration system. The automated system supplies fresh water from a larger reserve pond to the farm's fish and frog ponds. A handheld pump in use in the interim supplies only 20 per cent of the volume of water.

The storm also ripped the roof off its frog enclosure.

Wire mesh has been laid on top as a stopgap measure to ward off direct sunlight. Roof repairs for the enclosure will be done this week.

But Mr Goh worries if bad weather in the week ahead will spawn a nightmarish rerun of Friday's events. "We are scared it will rain again. The weather forecast says it will rain this whole week in the afternoon," he said.

Along with AVA and NParks, the Singapore Land Authority and the Building and Construction Authority will also step in to help, said Dr Koh in his post.

A 38-year-old worker at a plant nursery was taken to hospital on Friday with minor injuries.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on April 01, 2018, with the headline 'Govt to help with cleanup, rebuilding of damaged farms'. Print Edition | Subscribe