Saturday, August 15, 2009

Act of God in Sarawak

August 15, 2009
Sudden storm souses Sarawak fires

KUALA BARAM: It was “divine assistance’’ in the form of a sudden and unexpected storm lasting only 30 minutes that finally doused the forest fires and peat fires that have destroyed more than 3,000 hectares of land near the Sarawak-Brunei border.

The storm unleashed a heavy downpour at about 1am early Saturday and put out the fires that had been raging out of control for almost one month in the Kuala Baram district some 35kms north of Miri city.

More than 200 firefighters fought the battle round-the-clock for more than two weeks hampered by the dry weather and lack of water, and the huge area on fire.

The finally helped them put out the fires, including the underground fires in peat land

The fire teams that had been camping day and night at the fire zones have also packed up and left.

Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr George Chan Hong Nam confirmed Saturday that the rain had also put out most of the fires in other parts of Sarawak.

“However, the people are advised to still adhere to all precautions against the fires. They must also take this opportunity to conserve as much water as they can.

“I am worried that after next week, we may suffer another prolonged dry spell,’’ said Dr Chan, who is State Disaster Relief Committee chairman.

Dr Chan said the enforcement agencies must also prepare itself to face another round of fires and drought and put on standby the necessary manpower and equipment to be used whenever needed.

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