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Friday, January 28, 2011

Lahad Datu on high alert over flash floods

Heavy downpour leaves hundreds stranded as flash floods hit Lahad Datu.

LAHAD DATU: Incessant rain over the last two days has resulted in flash floods and landslides at the Siew Ching primary school in Kampung Pancuran, near here.

The district Natural Disaster Relief Committee (NDRC) has been put on high alert and rescue boats are on standby for evacuations.

NDRC chief Supt Shumsudin Mat said the high tide in the afternoon and the non-stop rain were among the causes of the flashfloods.

“We’re on standby for any eventualities,” he said.

District Civil Defense Corp chief, Hussain Mohd Noor, meanwhile said 60 personnel were also on standby to be deployed should the situation worsen.

“We have six boats to carry out evacuations in flood prone zones should the need occur.”

Flash floods submerged parts of the Lahad Datu township yesterday cutting off several main roads and sweeping away a car parked near a monsoon drain.

Several hundred vehicles were stranded along the main roads leading to the town for hours until the floods finally subsided at around 6.30pm.

The swept away car – a Proton Waja which was parked near the Singgamata commercial centre – pushed into the drain by the rushing waters and finally ended up at the mouth of Singgamata River.

The car owner, Sahibin Hassan, 57, said the vehicle was driven by his 29-year-old daughter attending a course in Royal Palm Hotel nearby.

“She couldn’t find a parking space at the hotel, so she parked the car at Singgamata Commercial centre near the hotel.

“It was unfortunate that the car was swept away, but I’m relieved to find out she was not in the vehicle when it happened,” Sahibin said.

An onlooker, Yap Kok Ming, owner of Poly Electrical Sdn Bhd at Singgamata, said he was stunned to see the Proton floating away.

“There was nothing we could do … the water came very fast, within two minutes it has covered the five-foot-way, I only managed to move my car behind the shop on higher ground.”

He said such flash floods are nothing new and have been occurring two to three times a year over the past twenty years. - FMT

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