Flood-prone Long Bemang seeks govt aid for resettlement

Two residents braving through the water in their longhouse.

SIBU, June 26: Each time it rains cats and dogs, Long Bemang, a 100-year old Kayan longhouse in Baram will be hit by flash flood with water up to the waist.

The 3,000 residents of this 300-door longhouse-the oldest in the area-want the government to help resettle them to a higher ground.

“It rained a few days ago and our sitting room area is still flooded. We can even swim in the longhouse as the water is more than three feet high,” said Irene Ping, 58, whose husband is the longhouse chief.

Over the years, their belongings have been damaged by flood water when they could not respond swiftly to carry them to the upper floor.

When there is flash flood, they would have to switch off their power supply from the solar panel for at least one week.

“It’s very dark during night time as our only source of electricity is from the solar panel. We have to switch it off to prevent people from getting short-circuit,” she added.

Irene said from January to June this year, flash flood has hit the longhouse six times already.

“Our longhouse is located on a lower ground and near Apoh Tutoh River. That is why flooding is very common. We have no choice but to stay here until we can move to higher ground,” she said.

Irene said about 100-door of the longhouse are usually seriously affected by flash floods as they are on much lower ground.

“We have previously voiced our problem to leaders in our area but nothing positive has come out of it. We are again appealing to the government to help us,” said Irene.—DayakDaily