Flooded street: Motorists passing through flooded Jalan Tun Abdul Rahman Yakoob in capital Kuching yesterday. The Sarawak River overflowed into the street causing traffic jams along the road. Picture: Bernama
Tuesday, January 13, 2009

THE Kuching, Samarahan, Sri Aman and Betong divisions of Sarawak have been issued an orange alert yesterday, as compared to the red alert on Sunday.

Nevertheless, Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr George Chan Hong Nam said the water level at Sungai Sarawak was expected to rise to 10.8m from 7pm to 9pm yesterday. The highest tide level was recorded at 6.2m.

(The last big flood to hit Sarawak was on Jan 24, 2004 when the water level of Sungai Sarawak reached 10.4m)

Dr Chan, who is also state disaster relief chairman, said the authorities expected the Sungai Sarawak water level to continue to rise, following an overflow from Sungai Sarawak Kanan and Sungai Sarawak Kiri.

He was speaking to reporters at the Sarawak Flood Operations Room here.

He advised Kuching city residents, especially those at Batu Kawah, Batu Kitang, Satok, Kampung Bintangor, Jalan Datuk Ajibahabol, Kudei, Tupong, Kampung Lintang, Sungai Bedil, Sungai Maong, Malihah, Gita, Landeh, Sandong and Siniawan areas to be ready to relocate, in the event the Sungai Sarawak water levels reached a dangerous level.

As of noon, the number of residents who relocated to 36 flood relief centres decreased to 6,908, as compared to 9,587 early today.

Meanwhile, state education director Dr Julaihi Bujang said that of the 174 flood-hit schools in Sarawak, 119 were closed today. These included 13 secondary schools.

In Miri, about 40 villages and longhouses comprising 2,000 residents, were hit by floods since last night.

The situation at the Niah sub-district and Bekenu in the outskirts south of the city here, is expected to worsen if the weather fails to improve.

Miri Division Diaster Relief Committee chairman Datuk Ose Murang said that aid and whatever relief would be distributed by boats to the affected residents, beginning tomorrow.

He said 10 schools were ordered to close beginning today, as a precautionary measure.

Sarawak Assistant Minister for Infrastructure Development and Communications Lee Kim Shin advised residents to keep abreast with the latest information on floods by checking with the divisional operations room at 085-426480 and 085-430210.

The Senadin state assemblyman said although city folks might not have been hard-hit by the floods, they should prepare for the worst.

Bekenu state assemblyman Rossy Yunus echoed similar sentiments. Bernama

Extracted from: The Brunei Times