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Universiti Malaysia Sabah’s Professor Dr Felix Tongkul said the series of debris or mud flows which occurred after the earthquake over two years ago, has made the river channel shallow due sedimentation, and unable to cope with the huge amount of rain flowing from Mount Kinabalu. Pix by Professor Dr Felix Tongkul

KOTA KINABALU: The severe flooding at villages along the Kadamaian river in Kota Belud was partly attributed to the post impact of the June 2015 earthquake at neighbouring Ranau, according to a geologist here.

Universiti Malaysia Sabah’s Professor Dr Felix Tongkul said the series of debris or mud flows which occurred after the earthquake over two years ago, has made the river channel shallow due sedimentation, and unable to cope with the huge amount of rain flowing from Mount Kinabalu.

“Based on the drone photographs of Kota Belud district we took, it appears that my worse fear on the post impact of the Ranau earthquake has become a reality.

“I was told by a villager that areas that have never experienced flooding before also got flooded.

“Apart from the heavy rain, the huge amount of water came from surface runoff as the catchment area around the Mt Kinabalu have been degraded (reduced vegetation cover),” he said.

Asked if the severe floodings would occur if not due to the unusual rain patterns coupled with strong winds as Sabah suffers the tail end of the typhoon Lan, he answered that floodings are a common occurrence in Kota Belud since the 2015 quake.

Last night, over 1,600 Kota Belud folks were affected when more than 23 villages were hit by water level rising, where they were placed in six relief centres.

The district was one of the badly hit following the typhoon impact as it passed the Phillipines and made its way to Japan, with Kota Kinabalu, Penampang and neighbouring areas reporting landslides, fallen trees and water level rising. Tuaran has also opened three shelters for flood victims last night.

This morning as of 10am, the fire and rescue department operations centre reported the increase of flood evacuees in Kota Belud to 2,089 in eight relief centres and 288 flood victims in two centres in Tuaran, involving a total of 30 villages affected in both districts.

Podtung @ Gowonod Talah, 76 died on the scene when a durian tree fell on the hut where he was sleeping in Penampang. Pix courtesy of NST Reader

Yesterday, a senior citizen was also reported to have died when a durian tree fell on the hut where he was sleeping in Penampang.

The 76-year-old man, Podtung @ Gowonod Talah, passed away on the scene at 10.20am at his orchard at Kampung Kalanggaan.

District police chief Deputy Superintendent Rosley Hobden said following the report by the victim’s family member, they did not rule out that the uprooted tree incident was due to the heavy rains and bad weather but declined to elaborate further.

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