n_26streams

Dry spell: Pupils of SK Lusong Laku in the interior Kapit division washing their dishes in dirty streams due to the drought caused by the El Nino phenomenon which left the state with water and food shortages.

El Nino drying up Sarawak

By STEPHEN THEN and SHARON LING

MIRI: With the supply of fresh water dwindling to critical levels in interior Sarawak, schoolchildren have resorted to washing dishes and bathing in dirty ponds and polluted streams.

The drought is worsening in many northern and central districts.

Things are made worse when the gravity water-feed systems that provide fresh water to longhouses and schools are not functioning properly due to the lack of mountain water.

Rainwater storage tanks have also dried up, underground wells are also depleted and rivers have become muddy and too polluted for drinking and washing.

The Star found SK Lusong Laku in the deepest interior of Kapit division — about an 11-hour journey from Belaga — where primary schoolchildren wash cups, plates, spoons and themselves in dirty streams, which resemble drains.

Read more at STAR online