Truckloads of water bring relief to villagers

Last resort: Villagers affected by the supply shortage scooping muddy water from a newly dug well.

KOTA KINABALU: Help has arrived for dozens of villagers in Sabah's northern Matunggong sub-district who have run out of water following a prolonged dry spell there.

Water is being trucked into six villages, where some residents have resorted to digging shallow holes in the ground just to get some muddy water.

The Kudat natural disaster management committee will be providing help to the affected villagers at Kampung Buranak, Panudahan, Marimbou, Rita, Koniung, Kom-burongo and Muhang, said Tanjung Kapor state assemblyman Datuk Teo Chee Kang.

Water tankers began delivering the supply yesterday.

Teo, who is also Special Functions Minister, said if the dry spell continued, as many as 100 villages within Matunggong alone could be hit by water shortage.

Piped water supply is available in the area but villagers are unable to pay the required deposit and connection costs.

Villager Leberi Francis Maraim highlighted the villagers' plight in a Facebook posting, saying there had been no rain in many parts of Matunggong for the past three months.

Leberi, the Matunggong PBS deputy division chief, said rivers had run dry, forcing villagers to dig wells in the riverbeds.

He said some also resorted to using muddy water from fish ponds for their daily needs.

Matunggong state assemblyman Datuk Jelani Hamdan said there was a need for the state authorities to react more quickly to the water supply shortage in the area.

He said he had raised the matter at the last state assembly sitting and had yet to receive any concrete response.