Royal concern for storm victims
By Azlan Othman

Families whose homes in Kg Ayer were damaged by the recent freak weather rejoiced when they learnt that His Royal Highness Prince Hj Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Deputy Sultan, was making a working visit to the Water Village.

His Royal Highness also talked to the relatives of the late Abd Malik bin Hj Osman of Kg Tamoi Tengah who passed away on Dec 19 while doing repair works.

His Royal Highness visited the houses of the storm victims, including those from Mukim Tamoi and Mukim Saba, as well as the RIPAS Religious School in Kg Saba Darat 'B', which was also damaged by last week's freak weather.

Expressing his concerns for the welfare of the people, His Royal Highness queried Awang Yahya bin Hj Abd Rahman, the Director of National Disaster Management Centre (NDMC) and Director of Fire & Rescue Department, if families affected by the storm would have to be relocated.

According to Awang Yahya, there is currently not a need to relocate them. However, if the need arises, relocation centres would be made available.

Upon arrival at the Incident Command Post (ICP), His Royal Highness was greeted by Acting Minister of Home Affairs, Pehin Datu Lailaraja Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Awg Hj Halbi, Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Laila Diraja Dato Paduka Awg Hj Hazair bin Hj Mohd Yusof, and Acting Minister of Energy at the Prime Minister's Office, Dato Paduka Awg Hj Ali bin Hj Apong.

According to the NDMC Director, roofs were blown off homes, trees were uprooted and power cuts were experienced during last Saturday's storm, which packed wind speeds of up to 15-30 kilometres per hour. As a result of the freak weather, 68 houses were damaged in Kg Ayer, mostly in Mukim Tamoi (29 houses).

During the briefing, Awang Yahya noted that there are two phases for the relief mission.

The first phase involves renovation works on roofs of houses and reducing the likelihood of sustaining more damages to the victims' houses by using canvas and installing zinc roofs.

The second phase involves easing the burden of victims by upgrading their comfort level and installing new ceilings for their houses.

According to the NDMC Director, they are currently in the first phase i.e. replacing rooftops. Repair works on ceilings and walls would be made later.

Some 180 people from 20 companies are involved in this massive job.

His Royal Highness was informed that as of Tuesday (Dec 21), repair works on 27 houses had been completed. Twenty-two houses were fixed on Monday (Dec 20). There are 19 houses left to repair. - Borneo Bulletin (23th December 2010)