Floods hit new areas

KOTA KINABALU: Flash floods struck the state capital and the outskirts of the city again late yesterday afternoon, including areas which have never flooded before.

Affected residents, politicians and community leaders have expressed worry and anger over the recurring problem and have strongly urged the authorities to resolve it.

Flood waters started to rise an hour after the start of heavy downpour around 4pm, paralysing traffic to Penampang, Lintas, Bundusan, Foh Sang, Dah Yeh Villa, City Mall, Kepayan, Universiti Malaysia Sabah and other areas.

A resident in Iramanis, Sam Lai, said his area had never flooded before.

“The water came up very fast and within 30 minutes of the heavy downpour the road in front of my house was underwater. The water came up to my gate but luckily it stopped there. The water subsided quickly too as soon as the rain started to lighten up,” he said.

Social media was ‘flooded’ with photographs and updates of the flash flood as well as areas where the roads are not passable.

Patrons at several outlets on the outside of City Mall were also surprised when water started coming in at the premises. Several cars parked outside the mall were hit by a landslide.

Other areas like Dah Yeh Villa and Foh Sang were also affected and unlucky car owners who did not move their vehicles on time could only stand and watch the flood water rise.

Kota Kinabalu Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Datuk Michael Lui has urged the relevant government departments, including Kota Kinabalu City Hall to resolve the issue of flash floods in the city.

Lui yesterday expressed concern about the flash floods at several areas in Kota Kinabalu that had affected the livelihood of the people.

“The government, relevant departments, including City Hall should take immediate action to resolve this issue. We cannot allow this problem to persist.

“The government must investigate whether the flash floods are caused by human error or natural disaster, he said.

If the floods were caused by clogged drains, Lui said  the government should immediately rectify the problem.

He said the government must address the people’s complaints otherwise it would be seen that the government is lax in its responsibilities.

Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) deputy president Melanie Chia said the State Government must apologize to the residents in the state capital as they have to again endure flash flooding.

“Today’s flash flood, only two days after the flash flood on Friday, is worse and affected more residents and properties. The State Government has not yet explained what caused the aggravated flash flood conditions nor have they apologized to the KK residents,” the former Luyang assemblywoman said.

She said the occurrence of the flash floods had brought about great distress to the residents and the government should take immediate action to resolve the woes.

“What happened to the flood mitigation program announced a few years ago? Before 2013 the State Government had announced medium and long-term flood mitigation programs and today the adverse flash flood confirmed that either these programs were not effective or not carried out,” she claimed.

“The government must first apologize to the KK residents for their failure and the suffering they experienced and also immediately conduct an investigation on the failure of the flood mitigation program,” Chia stressed.

Meanwhile, Moyog assemblyman Terrence Siambun saod the Penampang District Council had revealed its weakness and inefficiency when it failed to attend duly to complaints from Kampung Kibabaig residents over poorly maintained drains.

He said this led to flash floods in the village, particularly in Taman Country Shangri-la, on Friday and water levels did not start receding until almost 24 hours later.

“Equally at fault is the Public Works Department for ignoring to clean and clear the drainage alongside the main road.

“Kibabaig is notorious for being flood-prone but this most recent occurrence could have been so easily avoided,” said Siambun in a statement yesterday.

“If the District Officer had actually listened to the people of Kibabaig who urged the local authorities two months ago to clear the clogged drains, the situation on Friday would not have been so terrible,” he said.

Instead, the villagers and residents of Taman Country Shangri-la were given empty promises that it would be done, he added.

They were also told that their problems would end by November of 2019 when the Moyog flood mitigation project is expected to be completed.

Siambun spelled out several reasons for the artificial floods, the main one being poor drainage and unsystematic  development planning.

There is also the absence or lack of drainage maintenance on the part of the council.

“The drains are clogged with earth from hill cutting being done nearby about 200 metres from Taman Country Shangri-la.

“This has made it difficult for water to find its way to nearby tributaries,” he said.

Heavy downpour started just before 3pm on Friday and lasted for more than two hours.

In Kibabaig, water levels along the two-kilometre Jalan Datuk Panglima Banting did not start to recede until afternoon the next day and to make matters worse, there are no streetlights making it a dangerous drive for motorists at night.

“Flooding has become the order of the day in Kibabaig due to poor drainage system and the council’s failure to intervene quickly,” said Siambun.



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