MIRI: First, it was a food shortage. Now tens of thousands of flood victims in interior Sarawak are running out of diesel, petrol and cooking gas.
Diesel and petrol stocks have dried up in places like Bario and Ba’kelalan, affecting more than 5,000 people living in the mountains along the Sarawak-Kalimantan border after their access road to the outside world was severed more than three weeks ago by floods.
Ba’kelalan state assemblyman Nelson Balang Rining said: “The fuel crisis has not only caused transportation woes but also problems in homes which use generators to produce electricity.
“To make matters worse, cooking gas is also running out as we cannot get new stocks from Lawas. Sugar, flour, milk and other essential items are also running out fast. There is no more rice too,” he said.
Balang said that it was not viable to ferry food or fuel to the highlands via helicopters due of the current dangerous weather.
“There is only one way of transporting urgent stocks and that is via the timber road linking Lawas town and Ba’kelalan. Unfortunately, that road is flooded,” he said.
“Many stretches have been continuously submerged in more than a metre of water for weeks.”
In the Baram parliamentary constituency, floodwaters continue to plague people living in the two largest towns of Marudi and Long Lama, while some 195 longhouses are still in about a metre of water.
Adding to these woes, Sarawak’s northernmost airport – Lawas Airport – had shut down operations due to the floods, and this has disrupted flights to Miri, Limbang, Bario and Ba’kelalan.
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