Monday, January 12, 2009

Never ending flood

More than 60 hours of continuous rain has caused serious flooding again in many parts of low lying Sibu. Heavy rain started at around 6 am on Saturday morning and it poured without interruption for 2 1/2 days until around noon, Monday.One of the most seriously affected areas is the Ulu Sungai Merah which is about 3Km from Sibu Town. YB Vincent Goh,(above) Council Negeri member for Pahlawan was seen at Ulu Sungai Merah this afternoon to visit the affected residents and provide them some necessary assistance.

A stretch of about 2 km of Ulu Sungai Merah Road is submerged under 1-3 feet deep of water, rendering it inaccessible to motorcycles and small vehicles. Several big lorries from Sibu Municipal Council (SMC), Nice Construction (a local developer), and a few long boats and speed boats are at the scenes to transport people and motorcycles to higher ground.

The flood has forced the closure of a secondary school and a primary school in this area.The surrounding areas of Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Sungai Merah (above) are totally under water while parts of the school compound are also affected.

Two rows of shophouses next to the school are also badly affected and they too are closed for business.

The entrance to the school is 1 1/2 feet deep. The school's bus stand (below) is 2 feet under water.

Not far from Ulu Sungai Merah at Kampong Bahagia, the flood is 5 feet at the deepest. A small road and bridge leading to this bungalow (above) have been partially washed away by the strong current.

The Malay owner of the above house at Kampong Bahagia said water started rushing into his house like waves on Sunday morning .He had no time to move the belongings to the upper floor. He said it was the first time the house was under more than 2 feet of water. " There is no development in this area. The YB never come here after the election" he complained angrily.

This house at the junction of Ulu Sungai Merah Road Lane 14 is about 2 1/2 feet under water. The women (above)waded home in almost waist-deep water after sending off her two daughters to work." There is no sign the water is going to subside. We fear it will rise higher if it continues to rain" she lamented.

I overheard this pair of sisters saying: "Chinese new year is coming, we have bought new shoes and dresses. How are we going to wear them if the flood doesn't go away?" To the young people their worry is so simple and straight forward.But to many of us we who have gone through so much hardship and trouble with the frequent floods,we now actually hate ourselves for still staying behind in this flood-prone town. We hate ourselves for electing, term after term, the Ministers and YBs who have done nothing or not doing enough for the people.

It is forecasted that it will rain for 3 days during Chinese New Year.If it does, then many of us have to go visiting relatives and friends in rubber dinghy like the one above. It will be fun, but you certainly can't wear your new shoes.

A little girl is helped to the boat by a volunteer of the Sibu Emergency Rescue Team. The team provides free service for the affected residents.

Fearing the worst is yet to come, many residents start buying more food and other necessities from the town.

Although free transport is being provided, the Iban man (below) still enjoys brisk business ferrying people using his long boat. He charges RM2 per person and RM5 per motorcycle. A friend who knows him well says he makes several hundred ringgit a day.

It is literally the car and the boat riding side by side.

The big lorry can carry more people and they are very stable too. But the hassle is to climb up and down using the wooden ladder. Thanks to the many generous and helpful residents who are always ready to provide a helping hand to the needy and desperate.

Can any body tell me when can Sibu be free from flooding? Some politicians will argue that flooding is a natural disaster. You may be right some times, but not all the time. This present flood is definately not a natural disaster. I notice the water level at the Rajang River is not very high these few days. I dare say the very poor drainage system at the affected areas is the major cause for the flood.


mama belian n cengal said...

this time around it is worst than the 2003/2006 flood, right?
pity the victims who have to face these bad experiences...

nelson said...

global warming, excessive logging upriver, improper management of drainage and irrigation, corruptions, river siltation, but the government is still sending people to space, building an extravagant new city in the middle of the once upon a time a jungle.

victor said...

Luckily the rain has stop from yesterday. Otherwise the flood will getting worse.

Anonymous said...

No new shoes during chinese new year. We may as well start to put on the bikini for the new year, so that you can swim away nicely

Anonymous said...

It poured the WHOLE of Friday nite, not from 6 am as you said! So cold, got up a few times! SMK Bandar Sibu also closed. Definitely the Sg Merah area's (YB VINCENT GOH!! Wake up or no votes coming election!!) drainage+king tide+rain! That's why the flood prone areas like Lanang Road, fire station, SHS not affected.

Anonymous said...

Vast areas in Nang Sang and Soon Hup/Permai cleared for construction of houses. No forests for water rentention and gradual flow of rainwater into the river. Little or no attention paid to drainage. Like when my neighbour renovated the house- rubble, wood and sand dropped into the drain and upon completion, they just left. And it has been years since the last time the council workers came to clear the drains in my area! Soon Koh, Dr Soon, Richard Wong, Wong Sing Nang...all living in the area. No eyes to see? All eyes on power...power...power only?

Anonymous said...

Yes, the drainage system! And the developments without proper planning! Flood, flood, flood. It's unending.

But, don't we notice that the crimes are rising? Four murdered in a month or so. The yesterday's murder amidst the flood sent chill down my spine! And the police chief said the murdered was his friend, as reported in the newspaper.

God, have mercy on us!


willchua said...

Hi, I used some of your photos for my blog post titled "Sarawak Flood Jan 2009: Compilation of photos from various blogs and forums". Come have a look when you are free.

sarawakiana said...


Hope the water will subside soon.

Note that for 46 years nothing much has been done but many people have become billionaires from construction and other development.

May be politicians and community leaders and developers should take a course on social responsibility and how to clean up after the profits have been made.

Each flood in Sibu sends my blood pressure sky high.

Anonymous said...

Blame it on KTS, WTK, EverGreen....
My mind is telling me when will Sibu sink.

Philip said...

mama: Not the worst in Sibu area, thanks to no heavy rain in upper Rajang areas. I think Kuching is really badly effected this time.

nelson: Many parts of the Rajang near Sibu are seriously blocked...affecting the river traffic and smooth flow of water.The Ministers know,YBs know...still no action. Why don't give out free permits for people to excavate the sand and gravel and use them to fill up the low lying areas of Sibu?

Victor: yes, thanks god that the weather has improved, otherwise no more undies to wear!

anonymous:you have said it all! These are exactly the sentiments of the ordinary people who are suffering. Predict the economy and security situations will get worse and people will suffer more.How many of our elected representatives really care for us?The rich and powerful have no bad times anyway.

stp:Oh, that means it rained for more than 60 hours!It must be a record.Yes,common sense. It is the drainage problems...the water level in the Rajang is lower than the land....yet so many areas are flooded.

Willchua: you are welcome and thank you.

sarawakiana:The biggest culprits should be those who give out timber/plantation licences and those who destroy the forests indiscriminately. Making tons of money by destroying nature and do not repay back to society.

david是我 said...

Interesting blogs! and nice photo.. ...

Philip said...

david: Thanks for visiting. Your photography excellent too.

Tony Hii said...

Philip, the public voice on the floods has been blacked out totally.

nelson said...

there is no mention of the floods in berita harian that i got for free in KT. UMNO ppl were distributing free berita harian with something else inside, a propaganda paper criticising PAS.

I hope our YBs will walk the talk this time or they will retire in 2 years time.

Philip said...

Tony: Don't you think it is better to let people voice out and release their grievances? It is unhealthy and may develop into a time bomb.

nelson:West Malaysian papers normally do not carry " small" news from the east, unless they are of national interests and importance.