High risk of major mudslide if heavy rains strike Mt Kinabalu: Geologist

High risk of major mudslide if heavy rains strike Mt Kinabalu: Geologist
Houses damaged by mudslides near Mount Kinabalu. The aftermath of the June 5 earthquake that killed 18 has seen mudslides, landslips and flooding, as heavy rains continue to hit the mountainous area for the past one week.
PHOTO: The Star/ANN

KOTA KINABALU - The upper reaches of the Kadamaian river are at high risk of triggering a major mudslide should heavy rains occur on the western side of Mount Kinabalu.

Geologist Prof Felix Tongkul who carried out an aerial survey of the mountain found that there were large amounts of debris, including rocks and uprooted trees forming natural dams that could give way during heavy rains there.

"It would cause severe mud and rock slides and flooding similar to the June 15 mudfloods in Mesilau and the upper reaches of Liwagu river in Ranau.

"I saw many uprooted trees and rocks along the river and if a downpour occurs, all this debris would block the river flow. That could be dangerous to those living around the area, he said.

Dr Tongkul, who is with Universiti Malaysia Sabah, urged the authorities to clear up the area before the weather turns bad. Some 3,000 people living in three villages in the Kiau area at the foothills could be hit by the mudslides.

On the eastern side in Ranau, clearing works are going on to remove tonnes of uprooted trees and rocks at the Kampung Bambangan intake point which was washed down from the Mesilou river. Some 700 people in Kampung Mesilou remain in danger of more landslips which have already taken down one house and placed about a dozen others in danger.

Ranau water department engineer Anthony Jullah said the log and debris clearing was centred around two water intake points.

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