Why the massive floods when mitigation project completed, DAP asks

KUCHING: The state government owes Sarawakians, especially those affected by the recent floods, an explanation on why there were still massive floods when the flood mitigation project for Sungai Sarawak had been completed.
Photo by dapkuching
Kota Sentosa assemblyman Chong Chieng Jen, in stating this, recalled that a question was asked during the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting in 2011 on the progress of flood mitigation projects being carried out affecting Sungai Sarawak in general and Sungai Maong in particular.
“According to a reply by Assistant Minister of Environment Datu Len Talif in 2011, Phase 1 of the flood mitigation project had been completed. I then further queried whether it would help to mitigate any flood and his reply was ‘it helps to mitigate flood problem in Kuching areas’,” Chong said in a press conference yesterday.
Chong said as recorded by the DUN Hansard that time, Len Talif had said there was only one flood mitigation project for Sungai Sarawak, which was known as ‘Design, Build and Completion of Flood Mitigation Project in Kuching’.
Chong further said according to Len Talif, Phase 1 of the project, involving the construction of a two-kilometre channel from Batang Salak costing RM148 million, had been completed and for Phase 2 of the project, the consultants for the various components of this phase had been appointed and they were working on the design for the phase.
He also noted that the flood mitigation project comprised a few phases and the first phase only covered two kilometres out of eight kilometres, the total length of the channel to be constructed.
“So I think Len Talif has to explain to the people, especially those in Kuching why this (floods) still happened. It seems that the flood mitigation project and planning have not resulted in flood mitigation, but it actually made worse the flooding problem in Kuching,” Chong, who is Bandar Kuching MP, said.
In questioning the progress of the flood mitigation project that the BN government had been boasting about, Chong said this year alone, Kuching had been hit by two major floods and it seemed that there would be flood in Kuching whenever there was heavy rainfall.
“The flood that occurred two days ago was incomprehensible flood. Based on our observation, it was intermittent pouring. It is not like heavy rainfall throughout few hours or one or two days of heavy rainfall.”
Chong said this was confirmed by the rainfall data obtained from government website ‘Info Banjir’ from Feb 17 to 22.
“Based on the category of storm, one to 10mm of rainfall per hour is considered light storm and 11mm to 30mm of rainfall per hour is considered moderate storm.
“Based on the government’s own category of storm, the most heavy rainfall that happened on Feb 20 and 21, on average is still considered as light storm except for Kpg Git in Padawan which exceeded 11mm for the first day only and dropped back to light storm category on the second day.
“Basically, we can see that it was only two days of light storm and yet we have over 7,000 flood victims evacuated and sent to relief centres.”
He also asked if the light storm for the two days could cause such a massive flood situation in the state, what would happen if the amount of rainfall reached moderate storm category like what happened in 2003 and 2004, when the state recorded an average of 25mm (600mm per day) per hour rainfall continuously for three to four days.

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