300 trapped in Sabah’s Membakut

KOTA KINABALU - At least 300 people are trapped in Membakut as floods worsen for the third day in the south-western district of Beaufort.

Efforts are underway to send urgent food supplies to the marooned villagers of Kampung Sinoko and Kampung Bambangan after rescuers failed to cross the fast-flowing water from the Crocker Range hills.

Many people could be seen waiting for help on their rooftops at Kampung Sinoko with vehicles almost submerged.

Beaufort police chief Deputy Supt Mustaffa Maarof Mustaffa said they were trying to use army trucks to send in supplies as helicopters could not be used due to the bad weather.

About 1,685 people in the sub-district of Membakut were caught by surprise early yesterday when floodwaters rose rapidly in at least 14 villages.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman urged the people to leave their areas as soon as they have been informed to do so.

Most parts of Membakut were underwater with many roads leading to the villages in the old town turning into rivers.

More than a dozen schools were also flooded.

In Beaufort, over 1,000 villagers are still being housed in the four relief centres.

Many roads remained submerged, although larger vehicles were able to pass through certain stretches.

Musa said there was a need to deepen rivers and improve drainage systems in flood-prone districts in Sabah.

Heavy rain on Wednesday night also caused flash floods in Penampang and other low-lying areas such as Kolombong, Likas, Putatan and Kepayan, although no evacuation was required.

Meanwhile, the situation in Sarawak has continued to ease.

Only 3,071 flood victims from 866 families remain in the 17 relief centres statewide as of 4pm yesterday, down from 6,249 on Wednesday. However, parts of Limbang in northern Sarawak were still inundated.

"Part of the Pan-Borneo High­way is still not passable," Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Alfred Jabu said in Kuching after briefing Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Ahmad Maslan on the flood situa­tion yesterday.

Nine schools in the district remain closed.