Wednesday, February 20, 2008


Be ready to evacuate to higher areas, police caution residents


The State Police have issued a flood warning, advising residents along rivers, particularly in flood-affected areas in northern and eastern districts to be prepared for any possible rising water level. Police Commissioner Datuk Noor Rashid Ibrahim said floods which affected 49 villages in Kota Belud, Kota Marudu, Beluran and Pitas had started to subside on Sunday but the water level rose again in several areas following heavy rain on Monday. The water level is expected to continue to rise as the Meteorological Services Department had forecast heavy rain to continue until today, he said. He urged residents in affected areas to keep in touch with the district authorities on possible flood and evacuation. Those residing close to the rivers should monitor the water level and move to a higher ground immediately should the rising waters reach a dangerous level, he said. He also cautioned residents in other villages that even though there is no rain in their areas, downpours in the Interior could still cause flood at lower areas near river mouths. He said the Police Department in cooperation with other agencies such as RELA, Fire and Rescue Department, the Army, local councils and residents committees had been mobilizing logistic assistance to help flood victims in affected districts. He said five evacuation centres - one in Beluran and two each in Kota Belud and Kota Marudu - had been set up. A total of 239 people from 134 families have been evacuated from their homes to these centres. No one has been evacuated in Pitas so far but residents are advised to be ready for any possibilities, according to him. He said all affected roads in the four districts were passable except for Kilometer 8 of Pitas-Kinabongan road which is only passable to heavy vehicles. “The road is not passable for light vehicles and the public is advised not to try to push their way through the flooded road as it is dangerous and could invite mishap,” he said. The Meteorological Services Department yesterday morning issued a Red Stage heavy rain warning for Kudat and Sandakan, saying moderate to occasionally heavy rain is expected to continue. The department also issued an Orange Stage warning for Tawau, Lahad Datu, West Coast, Interior Divisions and Labuan. Yellow Stage warnings were issued for Limbang, Miri and Bintulu in Sarawak, effective from today until tomorrow.