Thursday, January 15, 2009

The floods have gone...

The floods have gone.The city is all clear from flood threats, State Disaster Relief Committee chairman Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Dr George Chan announced around 4.30pm yesterday.

And true enough, even when the King Tide reached a record high of 10.9m at 7pm, it did not flood in the city centre. Dr Chan also announced that the ‘red stage’ weather pattern of continuous heavy rain and thunderstorm issued by the Meteorological Services Department a few days ago had been withdrawn, he said.

“There’ll be showers but the vortex (of rain clouds) is gone. We expect to have fine weather in the next few days,” he told a press conference at the Flood Operations Room, Wisma Bapa Malaysia here. Dr Chan said little rain on Jan 12 (11mm) and Jan 13 (two mm till 4pm) allowed flood water from upstream to be flushed out faster.

By 3pm, he said the Sarawak River Barrage gates were closed to prevent incoming tide from going upstream and causing the Sarawak River and its tributaries to swell. “If there is no barrage gates, it will definitely flood again tonight during the King Tide which is expected to hit 10.9m,” he said.

“The barrage can prevent flooding in the city now because there is a huge volume of (rain and flood) water (from upstream),” he said. Therefore, he said that those affected by the floods could now clean-up their houses and shops.

“Some people haven’t cleaned up their places because they fear that there’ll be another flood tonight (last night),” he said. At 6.19pm, the upstream tide read 8.93m and 11.06m downstream. On Jan 12, the upstream tide was 10.8m. Continuous heavy rain and thunderstorm since last week caused some low-lying areas in Kuching, Samarahan and Sri Aman divisions to be submerged under two to 14 feet of water on Sunday. The situation was made worse by King Tides that started to occur on Jan 9 with the highest tide prediction between 6.1m and 6.3m from Jan 11 to 14.

By Sunday evening, because of the King Tide, more areas near Padungan and the city centre were under one foot of water. On Monday evening, the flooding became worse as flood water pushed its way inland, covering much of the city with water of between two and four feet.

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