Mount Kinabalu now 'scarred and has lost its halo’

Mount Kinabalu now 'scarred and has lost its halo’
PHOTO: The Star/ANN

KOTA KINABALU - It is heartbreaking for those who have always marvelled at the sight of the imposing Mount Kinabalu.

The mountain seems to have lost its "halo" in the aftermath of the 5.9 magnitude earthquake on June 5.

Its eastern and western faces have been badly scarred by a series of landslides and rock falls since the quake which appeared to have snatched away its natural beauty that had awed visitors for decades.

"Macam kena calar (it looks like it has been clawed)," said Emily Joseph, a native of Bundu Tuhan in the foothills of Mount Kinabalu.

Joseph, who lives around the mountain, said they were anguished to see it without its greenery and granite face.

"I hope the mountain recovers to its former glory," said Joseph, a Kadazandusun vegetable hawker.

Co-ordinator of the Mount Kinabalu Council of Elders Johnny Ghani said that it was a distressing time for people to see their sacred mountain ravaged in such a manner.

"I just hope that things will improve from now on," he said.

The earthquake struck the western face of Mount Kinabalu, killing 18 climbers and guides while large boulders came down, destroying at least three rest-houses on the summit trail.

One of the pinnacles of Donkeys Ears broke.

A powerful 5.1 magnitude aftershock on June 12 shook the mountain further.

Heavy rains followed, bringing down boulders and uprooting trees in mudslides.

Hundreds of villagers in the foothills of the mountains in the eastern and western face were evacuated.

The weather had improved in the past few days, bringing a degree of calm to the displaced villagers who have returned to their homes.

However, the authorities remain on standby to evacuate them in the event of heavy rains that may trigger more mudflows and rock slides.

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