| Khal Baharulalam & Siti Hajar |
EIGHTEEN houses have been affected by flood waters in Kampong Lumapas and Kampong Junjongan as the swollen Sungai Limbang overflowed its banks and inundated the two areas in the wee hours of yesterday.
The water level started rising at around 3am and most of the residents were apparently caught unawares.
Minister of Home Affairs, Pehin Udana Khatib Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Haji Awang Badaruddin bin Pengarah Dato Paduka Haji Awang Othman, and Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Laila Diraja Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Hazair bin Haji Abdullah, visited the affected houses yesterday afternoon.
In an interview with the Bulletin, the minister revealed that a centre has been set up by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA) at the Mukim Kilanas Community Hall, where affected families can seek temporary shelter.
Mattresses and pillows are provided at the centre for the comfort of the victims seeking shelter, according to the minister.
The minister said the previous occurrence of floods in the area was in 2008 and added that flood mitigations have been provided in flood-prone areas of the nation.
The Fire and Rescue Department has been working around the clock in ensuring the safety of flood victims, and will be on standby given that weather conditions were expected to worsen yesterday evening.
“They (the Fire and Rescue Department) will be around to help the flood victims,” said the minister, “Members of the Royal Brunei Police Force and the Royal Brunei Armed Forces have also lent a helping hand.”
Deputy Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, Datin Paduka Hajah Adina binti Othman, was also part of the delegation.
Some 150 meal packets were distributed by the Community Development Department (JAPEM), in addition to provisions provided by departments under both ministries.
“The water started rising sometime after 3 in the morning, which was when we received information from a member of the public,” said District Officer Misli Hj Abdul Hj Karim.
Despite the number of homes that were affected, the emergency hotline did not receive any distress calls, he said. “However, we came down immediately to assess the situation.”
Working alongside the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports told the Bulletin that relevant personnel from the ministry were also dispatched to the area upon learning the state of flooding.
“We responded as soon as we got word and subsequently deployed all our mechanisms as well as resources,” said Pehin Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Hazair bin Haji Abdullah.
As part of the contingency plan, the ministry is also providing affected family members with temporary shelter at the Sungai Kebun Sports Complex.
“Some families have requested to be moved to these temporary shelters, whilst others have decided to stay on or live with other family members, but they have the option to stay at any of the facilities.”
Recent heavy rains in neighbouring Limbang have led to swollen rivers and flooding in Kampong Lumapas and Kampong Junjongan. The minister was hopeful that the condition would improve.
However, the weather forecast, according to the Meteorological Department’s website, for Brunei shows more rainfall in the coming days.