Floods slow to recede as 785 people move to shelters

Residents being rescued by the civil defence force personnel in Kota Belud.

KOTA KINABALU: Flood waters in Sabah have been slow to recede because of the lack of maintenance of drainage systems and the shallowness of river beds, although little rain was recorded in the 10 west coast districts today.

A total of 785 people have been evacuated to relief centres in affected areas, after 13 hours of incessant rain from late Saturday flooded 105 villages, according to the state disaster management committee.

The committee expects that more evacuees will turn up at all 10 evacuation centres in four districts opened late last night.

In Kota Belud, 297 people had been placed at three centres, namely Tun Said Community Hall and Muhibbah Hall.

In Penampang, 38 people had been placed in the Penampang Cultural Hall, Ramayah Hall and Limbanak Hall, while 72 people are sheltered in the Papar Community Hall and 396 people were placed in Ponotono Saga Hall, Labut 2 Open Hall and Angalor hall.

As of 8pm, 105 villages in Tenom, Pitas, Beaufort, Kimanis, Papar, Kota Belud, Kota Marudu, Penampang, Keningau and Tuaran are still experiencing floods.

Civil Defence Force personnel in action during a rescue operation in Kota Belud.

Complaints have also been received over water supply being cut off and water rationing was implemented in some areas in Penampang.

Sabah chief minister Shafie Apdal said he had already instructed all district offices to be on standby and to set up disaster management committees in the event heavy rainfall continues.

“The priority of the state government at present is to ensure that the safety of those affected is being resolved, and food supply is enough,” he said when met at the Penampang temporary relief centre, earlier.

He said the flood waters had been slow to recede because of the lack of maintenance of the drainage system and rivers as Sabah experiences its annual monsoon season.

St Michael secondary school is the only secondary school closed by the floods in Penampang.

He said he had already instructed all the agencies involved including the Public Works Department to immediately take action to mitigate the flooding such as clearing clogged drains, increasing the depth of local rivers and also to make repairs to damaged roads due to landslides.

Sabah education director Mistrine Radin said 25 schools had been affected by the floods but only St Michael secondary school in Penampang would remain closed. She said 20 primary schools and five secondary schools were affected by the floods.

“Cleaning of all schools would be done once the flood recedes,” she said.

The Meteorological Department has issued a yellow alert warning of heavy rain in the interior divisions, west coast, Kudat, including Kota Marudu and Labuan.

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