Association chief renews calls for rural fire stations after Rh Chat Bilat fire

Umie Liau

SIBU, Aug 19: The recent longhouse fire in Julau warrants the urgent setting up of more Category E fire stations in rural areas of the state.

The 20-door longhouse, Rh Chat Bilat in Nanga Bilat, Entabai was totally destroyed in the August 17 fire, leaving 150 residents homeless

Kenyah Uma Baha Women’s Association Sibu chairwoman Umie Liau in expressing her sadness on the fire, wants the Federal Ministry of Housing and Local Government to expedite the establishment of Category E fire stations near all longhouses or schools in rural Sarawak to help prevent fire disasters, or at least reduce the negative impact of fire cases.

“I was very sad to know of the fire disaster at a longhouse in the Julau area, Sarawak, namely Rumah Chat Bilat which was burned down on August 17,” she revealed in a statement.

According to Umie, on June 23 last year, during a working visit to the Sungai Merah Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba) fire station, Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin promised the establishment of 108 Category E fire stations throughout the interior of Sarawak to meet urgent needs.

“Unfortunately, to this day, we have not seen a single fire station of that category being set up,” Umie noted.

Referring to statistics from January to May 2020 alone, Umie revealed 38 longhouses in the interior of the state were destroyed by fire with losses estimated at RM2 million .

“The longhouse fire disaster did not stop there. Earlier this month, on August 5, a hostel block at SK Sebauh, in the Bintulu area, was also razed down. Therefore, I would like to call on the ministry to consider setting up Category E fire stations for rural areas in the state,” she added. — DayakDaily