MIRI: More than 10,000 rural folk from over 100 villages in Miri Division have consistently faced a shortage of drinking water due to dry weather since the beginning of this year.
A Welfare Department spokesperson said so far over 78,000 boxes of drinking water have been supplied to the affected villagers.
Yesterday, the department received requests from district offices in Miri Division for 10,000 boxes of drinking water to be supplied to 20 villages in Telang Usan.
“On average, in a month, the district offices submitted to us requests for drinking water from 20 to 30 kampungs.
“This year, and especially the third quarter of the year, the number of requests keep on increasing as the locals reported the dry spell caused rivers, their main source of water supply, to run dry. As there is no piped water supply and with little rain their water tanks too are dried up and thus they have to request for drinking water from our department,” said the spokesperson.
The worst affected area is Bakong, where 25,000 boxes of drinking water have been supplied, followed by Marudi (20,000 boxes), Telang Usan (18,000 boxes), and Niah (15,000 boxes).
“So far the department, through the local transporters and also the Rural Water Supply Department, had been able to effectively supply the requested amount of drinking water. Only in the early part of this year, there was some problem when the local suppliers ran out of stock and had to source supplies from Bintulu and Sibu.
“With seven food depos located in rural areas – in Long Bemang, Long Ikang, Long Jekan, Long Loyang, Long Imang and Long Teran Kiri and Kanan – distribution of the drinking water could also be expedited,” said the spokesperson.
Meanwhile, Sibuti member of parliament Lukanisman Awang Sauni said over 700 villagers from several longhouses in Sibuti were also affected by the shortage of drinking water.
They included Rumah Agap, Rumah Ngayum, Rumah Lagan, Rumah Insin, Rumah Apin, Rumah Lani, Rumah James Biri, Rumah Banyan, and Rumah Isan.
“Today alone our service centre distributed 110 boxes of mineral water to villagers at Rumah Insin.
“I urge the relevant government agencies to intensify efforts to help the affected villagers as we don’t want their health to be jeopardised due to a shortage of drinking water,” Lukanisman said when contacted.