Disaster committee prioritises solving problems caused by floods, landslides

Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah

KUCHING: Solving problems caused by floods and landslides become the top priority of Sarawak Disaster Management Committee, said its chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas.

Uggah, who is Deputy Chief Minister, stressed that the Public Works Department (PWD) has been instructed to immediately repair road damaged by floods or landslides.

“The first priority in our meeting this morning was to request PWD to repair as soon as possible road damaged or cut off. We are monitoring the situation and we will make sure that areas facing problem will be getting due help from PWD.

“We would also appeal to Rakyat to inform us any incident, be it flood or landslide as soon as possible so that we can extend help soonest possible,” Uggah told Borneo Post over the phone today.

Aware that people will start flocking the road to return home for Chinese New Year holiday, Uggah said his team are on full alert to offer help and solve problems brought about by the weather calamities.

He said all machinery, equipments and transportation including boats have been mobilised, and ready to be deployed to help people.

“Like what happened in Selangau, our boats came to help those affected by the flood, to send food to those cut off by flood, as mode of transportation for those whose road no longer passable to vehicle, and to move them to evacuation centre,” he said, referring to Selangau, one of the worst affected areas which is located between Sibu and Bintulu.

At least two segments of the road were cut off by the flood and landslide, and PWD is doing its best to repair the road immediately to make the road passable to motorist. Damaged roads along the alternative routes between Mukah and Bintulu were repaired yesterday and can be use by the traffic now.

Uggah stressed that the disaster management committee at all levels are well prepared and will swing into action upon notification.

“Every committee at district level has been instructed to be on full alert, and be ready and prepared with all transportation especially boats to make sure that evacuation can be carried out smoothly, our evacuation centres will be managed by the relevant government agencies.”

Uggah also said that the Welfare Department of Sarawak had brought up to his attention during the meeting this morning on the challenges faced while helping the people affected by the flood at evacuation centres.

“As of now, I am very pleased with the management of evacuation centre but our biggest challenge is to help families with little baby who are still nursing on baby milk formula because they are feeding on various brands, and one brand does not necessarily fit all.

“The welfare department have decided to give them cash to buy the milk, and we would like to appeal to the families with baby to bring their own milk formula they are asked to move to the evacuation centre and we will give them cash to buy more baby formula once they are at the centre,” he said.

Besides advising people to write down the ‘hotline numbers’ in their respective area, he also called on  all community leaders to work closely with disaster management secretariat in their respective district and resident office.

“Please contact us as soon as possible so that we can make arrangement to help, now that we have social media – make full use of social media to inform. However, when using social media, please be responsible and only upload the most recent information for our action, not things that have happened 12 or 24 hours ago. By the time we reached there the water has receded.

“Please don’t send to us photographs of flooded a road but when we rush there only to be informed that the information is outdated and water had actually receded. We need to make sure our manpower and resources to help are not wasted,” Uggah appealed.

As of 4pm on February 7, Uggah said some areas are improving but some are still under close supervision.

In noting that the evacuation centre in Sebuyau Community Hall had been closed at 2pm yesterday, Uggah said the other evacuation centres that were closed yesterday included Johnichal Rayong Hall, SK Samarahan Estate, Trusan Community Hall in Limbang and Betong Kenawit hall.

“25 evacuation centres are still active accommodating 1,364 families involving 4,602 people,” Uggah said.

43 schools are still closed down, with 11 of them being used as evacuation centres, 16 health clinics are still closed down statewide and 12 cases of landslide cases reported to date.

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