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Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Sabah and Sarawak Affairs) Datuk Seri Panglima Dr. Maximus Johnity Ongkili is pictured during question-and-answer session in Parliament, September 23, 2021. —Bernama pic
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Sabah and Sarawak Affairs) Datuk Seri Panglima Dr. Maximus Johnity Ongkili is pictured during question-and-answer session in Parliament, September 23, 2021. —Bernama pic

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KOTA MARUDU, Jan 3 — The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Sabah and Sarawak Affairs) Datuk Seri Maximus Ongkili said it is time to include and strengthen the flood mitigation element in all developments in Sabah, especially in Kota Marudu.

Speaking to Bernama today, Ongkili said good and sustainable development planning should be prioritised to reduce the risks and impacts of floods, which is an annual occurrence in the state.

“Planning (for development) is not easy, but good planning can reduce impacts and implications (of floods).  This includes drainage, water and electricity supply, all these need closer coordination.

“It is no longer just planning, (instead) it is necessary to (apply) scientific data and studies as well as accurate information (from each relevant government department and agency),” he said after visiting the temporary flood relief centre at Sekolah Kebangsaan (SK) Ranau here, today.

SK Ranau, which shelters a total of 565 victims from 201 families, is one of 13 relief centres opened in Kota Marudu, the district most affected by the floods following continuous rain since Friday.

Sabah recorded 3,329 victims involving 1,231 families as of 3 pm today, compared with 3,398 individuals from 1,236 families logged at noon.

Other affected districts are Pitas, Paitan Telupid, Beluran and Sandakan.

Ongkili, who is also Kota Marudu Member of Parliament said flooding occurred following heavy rainfall between 40 and 50 millimetres a day to 200 millimetres a day, which is above the normal level, causing water in several rivers in the district to breach the danger level.

He said close cooperation among all government departments and agencies in Sabah was crucial to ensure more efficient flood management including facilitating evacuation operations as well as providing assistance to flood victims housed in relief centres.

Checks showed that the weather was still unpredictable with intermittent rain and several villages in the district were still flooded but some villagers have started to clean their houses. — Bernama


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