Royal concern for Kg Ayer victims
By James Kon

His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Deputy Sultan showed concern on the welfare of the victims whose houses in Kampong Ayer were affected by squally weather conditions experienced for five days in a span of seven days this month.

The Deputy Sultan paid a surprise visit to the worst affected areas of the water village, yesterday afternoon.

Upon arrival at the Sungai Lampai's Fire and Rescue station, His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Deputy Sultan was greeted by Pehin Orang Kaya Johan Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Awang Hj Adanan bin Begawan Pehin Siraja Khatib Dato Seri Setia Awang Hj Mohd Yusof, Minister of Home Affairs, and Pehin Orang Kaya Dewa Pahlawan Dato Paduka Awang Haji Dani bin Haji Ibrahim, Deputy Minister of Home Affairs.

Also present were Permanent Secretaries at the Ministry of Home Affairs and officials from various departments.

The Deputy Sultan took a boat from Sungai Lampai Fire station to Sungai Kebun Fire station.

The Deputy Sultan heard a briefing on the current situation of the affected houses in many areas delivered by Dato Paduka Awang Haji Yussop bin Bakar, Brunei-Muara District Officer, at the conference room of the Fire and Rescue station in Sungai Kebun.

After the briefing, His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Deputy Sultan visited all the affected houses in the water village.

His Royal Highness first visited the affected houses at Kampong Sungai Kebun, then at Kampung Burong Pingai and finally at Kampong Pantai Besi.

The Penghulu and head of villages of the affected areas in the water village also accompanied the Deputy Sultan during the surprise visit.

During the two-hour visit, the Deputy Sultan stopped at some of the affected houses and spoke to the residents.

A total of 53 houses were adversely affected by the strong winds that hit Brunei Darussalam on May 11, 13, 14, 16 and 18.

Thirteen of the houses that were affected are located in Kg Ayer.

In addition, a number of government buildings were also affected including Sekolah Rendah Sungai Kebun, Al-Muhtadee Billah Mosque and Awang Semaun Secondary School.

Almost all the affected houses have been repaired thanks to the swift action by government agencies and the private sector. The rebuilding of some of the collapsed houses in Kg Sungai Kebun will be completed soon. - Borneo Bulletin (23rd May 2008)