KOTA KINABALU May 17, 2012: Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Pairin Kitingan explained that the 3,000 odd villagers at Kampung Kiau-Taburi/Bersatu/Nuluh in Kota Belud are not stranded after a landslide last Wednesday destroyed the road linking the villages to the main road.
According to the Infrastructure Development Minister, villagers have access in and out of the area through the existing Kiau-Lobong Lobong Road which is about 10 kilometres to the main road.
The state Public Works Department (PWD) is currently also upgrading the Kiau-Paka Road which is only four kilometres to the main road to serve as another route, he told reporters after an aerial inspection of the landslide affected area yesterday.
“So I just want to clear up the air about the situation affecting the villagers; they are not stranded with no access to the main road or without food and water. They have been travelling through an alternative 10-kilometre route to the main road.
“The PWD is however repairing a shorter alternative route for the villagers, which is the Kiau-Paka Road and the work is expected to be completed by today,” he said, adding that the work would have been completed earlier if not for the incessant rain the past week.
Pairin said the original road which was destroyed by the landslide was only about three kilometres to Kampuung Kiau. After the landslide, villagers had no choice but to use the longer Kiau-Lobong Lobong Road.
To make their travelling easier, the PWD decided to repair the Kiau-Paka Road which is only four kilometres to the main road, he explained.
“During our aerial visit, I also saw two groups of SESB workers manually carrying electric poles into the affected area to replace the ones lost in the landslide,” he said.
To the question if there were any plans to rebuild the damaged road, Pairin said it was not possible to do so as there was still soil movement in the area and even a slight rainfall could trigger a landslide, so there was no point of putting up a wall there now.
State PWD director John Anthony who was also at the press conference added that the department had to carry out a study first as to what sort of remedial work could be done but it was still too dangerous to send a study group because the soil there is still unstable and the risk of another landslide was still high.
John told reporters that the landslide occurred at 0.6kilometres of the three kilometer road leading to Kampung Kiau-Taburi. About 200 metres of the road collapsed, he said.
He also disclosed that the work on the Kiau-Paka road is expected to cost about RM250,000 while the upgrading works on the Kiau-Lobong Lobong Road would cost RM18 million.
In view of the landslide, Pairin advised those intending to build houses on top of hills or along hill slopes to reconsider their decision.
“We are thankful that no one was hurt and that no lives were lost in the incident. So we urge the people to reconsider building their houses on hilly areas or slopes even though the view they get is beautiful,” Pairin said.
Pairin added that land in the area, including Kundasang and Ranau, had been identified as unstable and one of the scientific reasons given was that there are rock formations under the soil so when the area is saturated by rain, the soil will move.
“My advice to those residing in these areas with risk of landslides is to take the necessary precautions and monitor their surroundings. They must also report to the relevant authorities when they see any changes in their surroundings,” he said.
KOTA BELUD May 17, 2012: The Public Works Department (PWD) is in the process of completing works on the alternative route to facilitate access for villagers affected by the landslide which damaged the road to Kampung Kiau.