Sungai Katibas log debris not from logging activities, says Sarawak Foresty dept director

KUCHING: The "massive" log debris in Sungai Katibas in central Sarawak is not due to any logging activities along the tributary of the Rajang River, state Forestry Department director Datuk Hamden Mohammad clarified today.

He said the debris of deadwood and uprooted trees that were washed down by "intense localised rainfall" from landslips in the Lajak Entimau wildlife sanctuary could not be from logging as the activity is banned in the totally protected area.

The sanctuary is home to the endangered Orang Utan.

Hamden said from satellite photos taken last Sunday, there were at least 10 landslides spotted in the sanctuary which is within the Ulu Katibas water catchment area.

"Based on meteorological and hydrological data, the high intensity of rain that had occurred within the catchment could have caused the landslides along Sungai Nyawai, Takai and Kalimau Besar (tributaries of Sungai Katibas)."

He said the size of the landslides, on average, are the size of a football field but their occurrence are also numerous to generate the massive log debris which surprised Katibas river folks when they awoke.

Hamden said his officers, as well as those from the Sarawak Forestry Corporation and the Natural Resources and Environment Board (NREB) are still conducting an aerial reconnaissance to determine the extent of the natural occurrence.

What is certain, he added, is that the Sg Katibas log debris is nowhere near the scale of the Baleh River log jam of 2010.

The Baleh log jam caused navigation problems on the lower reaches of the river and it reportedly extended for 250 km.

The Sungai Katibas log debris however, caused a stir among people who live along the river and at the Rajang riverine town of Song last Sunday.

Believing a disaster is unfolding, Kapit resident Galong Luang, was reported to have notified the State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) of it.

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