KOTA KINABALU May 14, 2012: All signs were there to indicate the landslide that took place at Kg Kiau Taburi at the foothills of Mount Kinabalu was inevitable.
While an elderly couple was rescued from their house that was swept away in the landslide, about 1,500 residents of the village in the Kota Belud district, about 70km from here, were also cut off after the main road access caved in following Wednesday’s landslide.
Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) research and innovation department director Dr Felix Tongkul said a geological mapping study carried out by UMS had found the area to be unstable.
He said UMS nature disaster research unit had inspected sites at the village just over a month before the landslide occurred and established signs of earth movement around the area.
“There were cracks on some of the roads that indicated the earth was unstable while there was also damage to the drainage system and electrical poles,” Dr Tongkul said.
He said the geological mapping study by his team showed that the area around Mount Kinabalu was highly unstable and prone to landslides.
“This is not only due to the unstable condition of the hill slopes and groundwater due to annual rainwater but also erosion of the rocks in the area which are made up of sandstone and mudstone,” Dr Tongkul said.
A day after the landslide, a team of researchers was sent to Kg Kiau Taburi to learn what triggered the incident, he added.
The state Public Works Depart-ment had to build a 4km alternative road to enable motorists to reach the village which was totally cut off after the landslide caused a 200m cave-in at the main road access.
By DURIE RAINER FONG