| Faza Suraj |
THE public should be patient and alert during the current rainy spell, which may cause flash floods, Senior Superintendent Muhd Shahreeni bin Hj Mohd Yussof the Commanding Officer of Operation Branch ‘B’ Belait District of the Fire and Rescue Department, said yesterday.
In an interview with the Bulletin yesterday he said, “There were areas (in the district) which were affected by the continuous heavy rain on Sunday, leading to flash floods that receded a few hours after the rain stopped at night.”
He said the Operation Branch ‘B’ Belait District patrolled the flood-prone areas such as Mukim Bukit Sawat and Mukim Labi under the jurisdiction of the Sg Liang Fire Station and Labi Fire Station.
The officials found that the flooding in those areas was not too serious as cars could still pass through, except for Jalan Singap, which was only accessible to four-wheeled drive vehicles.
“The areas in the vicinity of the Seria Crude Oil Terminal were also affected due the rain and high tide where the water level rose to 0.2 metres though cars were still able to pass through.”
Some roads and areas, especially the low-lying ones, were flooded due to the insufficient drainage of water, he said.
“Thankfully when we made our rounds in the morning, the water cleared and everything was back to normal.”
He advised residents in flood-prone areas to move their belongings to the upper floor of their house if they live in a two-storey home.
“Drivers should always be careful when on the road to protect themselves and other drivers.”
An official from the Meteorological Department under the Ministry of Communications told the Bulletin that the weather for this week will be calmer with occasional showers.
“Our forecast model showed symptoms of heavy rains on December 31 but it is predicted that it would not last as long as the recent storm, which caused the flash floods in some areas.”
He mentioned the possibility of heavy rains on the first week of January 2015 due to tropical storm Jangmi, which brought floods to the Philippines and is moving westerly and expected to leave southern Philippines by New Year’s Day and head towards north of Borneo.
“When the storm reaches north of Borneo, it is more than likely that the island will be affected due to the storm and the public are advised to be prepared even though there is also the possibility that the storm will dissipate. We will keep a close eye on it.”
Meanwhile, 60 staff members of Soon Lee Seaview in Kuala Belait stayed past their closing time to remove excess water due to the flooding, Albert Atienza, a store-keeper told the Bulletin.
“The department store closed at 8.30 pm instead of the usual 9pm though it started flooding at around 6.45pm and we tried to prevent water from coming in.”
Albert said that the water reached their ankles but was thigh-high in some areas behind the building.
The next morning the department store opened at 10.30am instead of the normal 8.30am as the staff members cleaned the floors.
He added, “The amount of damage is being investigated.”
“We will use more sandbags in the future as the weather forecast stated that there will be more storms like this or even worse.”
On the same night, Koperasi SAPAKAT Fuel Station of Kuala Belait also had to close early due to the rising waters.
Maimunah binti Dullah, 52, who has been working at the station for more than 30 years and is now the manager there, said they closed early due to their concerns for customer’s safety. “There was no damage to the fuel station during the flooding. Fortunately business started as normal at 6.30am.”