KOTA KINABALU: It was a public holiday. But Penampang native Joeffrin Likius spent the long weekend busy cleaning up debris and mud from his house.
The latest round of floods in his village, Kampung Kodou in Sugud, Penampang district, on Wednesday, which was triggered by hours of continuous heavy rain, was not as bad as the one that hit it on Sept 15 last year.
But it was enough to leave the villagers in a state of despair as the floodwaters inundated a number of homes, costing the residents substantial damages to their properties.
“This is not the Malaysia Day celebration my family and I were thinking of,” said the 43-year-old self-employed Joeffrin, referring to the clean-up he had to do on Friday.
“Last year’s flood was more destructive as four feet of water and mud came into our house compared to some two feet this time, but we are feeling the strain as we are still busy cleaning up now,” he added.
Joeffrin said his relatives who were residing further downhill suffered more damages after their cars were almost submerged by the water.
He said he suffered losses worth thousands of ringgit last year when four cars belonging to him and his family were either severely damaged or washed away by the floodwaters, not to mention the damages to their other properties.
The father of one said that while he was thankful that no one from his family was hurt, they were worried about when the next big flood was going to hit.
He said Sugud was hit by floods six times last year, and added that the worst was on Sept 15.
“This is the first flooding here this year. We don’t know how much longer we can stand this.
“All we can do now is to watch the Sugud River closely whenever it rains to see if the water level rises.
“What else can we do or say? We just hope the government will complete the river widening project as soon as possible,” Joeffrin said.
Another villager who declined to be named said the state government should make the flood mitigation project a top priority as the villagers were already fed up with the situation, which seemed like an annual predicament.
Kapayan state representative Jannie Lasimbang said in a statement that Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor and his deputy Datuk Seri Dr Jeffrey Kitingan should explain the reason for the delay in disbursing the RM9mil funds for Phase 3 of the Penampang Sugud River flood mitigation project.
Lasimbang said flooding in Sugud and Maang in the district had become a major issue for residents.
“Every time it rains, the river water will overflow and cause flooding,” she added.
She said the recent Sept 14 floods in Sugud not only caused damages to properties but residents also experienced water and electricity supply interruptions as well as mental stress.