Assistance given to Long Bemang longhouse folk, clarifies Telang Usan rep

Albert (right) standing in front of his longhouse where water level is over a metre high.

SIBU, June 27: Telang Usan assemblyman Dennis Ngau has clarified that he has been doing all that he could to assist Long Bemang longhouse folk in Baram who are constantly affected by flood.

He said the families of the 100 of the 238-door Long Bemang longhouse in Baram had agreed to move to higher ground.

However, according to him, the government do not have the capacity to rebuild every single rakyat home affected by flood.

Dennis said this in response to a longhouse folk, Irene Ping who appealed to the government to assist them to move to higher ground.

Their Kayan longhouse is still flooded today following flash flood which happened four days ago. The water level has reached up to the waist and Irene, 58, said they could even swim in their longhouse.

This is the sixth time that the longhouse is badly hit by flash flood this year.

Dennis  refuted claim that he did not bother to assist them.

“This is not the truth. I have been telling them (and agreed by them) to find a higher site to build their home and this has been ongoing,” he said.

Dennis further said that more than 100 new homes have been built on higher ground.

“But even if they build all the 100 doors are prone to flood.  The families do not wish to demolish this traditional longhouse due to nostalgic memories,” he said.

Irene’s husband, Albert Ding when contacted said it was true that 100 doors have been built on higher ground.

“This is already an old story. The 100 doors have been built but due to the increase in population here, there are still those whose houses are affected by flood as they sit on lower ground,” he said.

Albert’s house is one of another 100 doors which are constantly hit by flash flood. These 100 doors with about 600 occupants are from six row of longhouses in the area.

“We all are very eager to move to higher ground. We did not say we don’t want to demolish our longhouse due to nostalgic reason. But we cannot relocate as there is no more land in the area,” he said.

Albert, who is the head of the area Voluntary Fire Brigade, said he had already called on the government to assist in finding land around the area for their resettlement.

“We are still hoping that our request can be met soon as we cannot go on living in our longhouse which is prone to flood,” he said.

He added that the water level is still not receding yet.-DayakDaily