No logging link: Ulu Katibas landslides caused by intense rain, says Forest Dept director

Hamden (front row, centre) officiating at the International Conference on Sustainable Management of Tropical Forests in Kuching on March 6, 2024.

By DayakDaily Team

KUCHING, March 6: The recent landslide in Ulu Katibas is thought to have been triggered by persistent and intense rainfall, not logging activities.

According to a Sarawak Public Communications Unit (Ukas) news report today, Forest Department Sarawak director Datu Hamden Mohammad stated that his team conducted a preliminary survey on March 3 and discovered approximately ten landslides in the Ulu Katibas catchment area.

“The result of our initial survey found that the cause of the landslide occurred due to local heavy rainfall in the Ulu Katibas catchment area.

“Based on the findings from satellite (images) we obtained last March 3, there are at least 10 landslide sites in the catchment area,” he was quoted as saying in the news report.

Hamden stated this when met by reporters after inaugurating the International Conference on Sustainable Management of Tropical Forests here today.

He denied that the landslide was caused by logging activities, pointing out that one of the landslides occurred in the Lanjak Entimau Wildlife Sanctuary.

“At the moment, these landslides occur mostly in the Lanjak Entimau Wildlife Sanctuary, which we already know does not have any logging activities because it is a fully protected area,” he added.

As a result of the incident, Hamden noted that small pieces of wood from the upper part of the region were washed into several rivers, including Sungai Nyawai, Sungai Takai, and Sungai Kalimau Besi, causing the water level in the upper area to rise.

In this regard, Hamden gave assurance that his team will continue to monitor the area closely via aerial surveys in order to prevent any unwanted incidents from occurring.

Also present were Sarawak Timber Association (STA) chairman Dato Henry Lau, WWF-Malaysia chairman Tan Sri Abdul Wahid Omar, and International Tropical Timber Organisation executive director Sheam Satkuru.

On March 3, Katibas assemblyman Lidam Assan confirmed a massive buildup of wood debris floating down Sungai Katibas near Song.

He explained that heavy rain in the Upper Katibas area had washed tree branches and wood debris into the river and muddied the water.

At some point, he said, there were many dead fish found floating in the river, believed to be a result of fallen trees upriver carried down by flood water. — DayakDaily