Wall cracks at Hamidah Orphanage Complex raise safety concerns

Multiple cracks appearing on the walls of the former boys' block.

By Jaythaleela K

MIRI, Nov 21: Established in 2008 with a capacity to accommodate up to 150 less fortunate children, the Hamidah Orphanage Complex at Taman Desa Indah 3, Permyjaya here has seen better days.

Due to soil-related issues for the past few years, numerous cracks on the walls have appeared on some of the buildings of the complex, which had not only raised worries but also presented safety concerns.

The situation has forced the orphanage’s management to close one of its blocks which had been used to house its male students, after it was declared dangerous by the authorities.

The block has been sealed after an examination was carried out and its male students were asked to vacate the building and relocated to another block.

“Our female students were also relocated to another nearby block, as the cracks are escalating to other buildings as well,” said the complex’s manager Shamsiah Sanai Tahir when met recently.

The complex’s manager, Shamsiah Sanai Tahir.

She said, as temporary solutions, they have decided to demolish the damaged block (the previous block used to accommodate male students) after the cracks escalated.

A new building has been planned to be built on that same spot, replacing the damaged block structure following the sinking soil at the area.

Other temporary measures that have been planned to stabilise the complex foundation is to carry out re-piling works on the sinking foundation.

According to Shamsiah, patron of the Orphans Welfare Organisation of Malaysia (Peryatim) Sarawak Datin Patinggi Datuk Amar Juma’ani Tun Tuanku Bujang has suggested that the complex be relocated to a new site.

“For a long term solution to solve the problem, she (Juma’ani) has proposed for this complex to be relocated to a new site as she was worried over the students’ safety,” she said.

Hamidah Orphanage Complex at Taman Desa Indah 3 in Permyjaya, Miri.

Meanwhile during a recent visit to the complex, Assistant Minister for Women, Family and Childhood Development Datuk Rosey Yunus said the State government was aware of the complex’s current situation.

“The site for complex relocation is yet to be identified, and that is why we are giving full support to the complex’s temporary development plan to improve the facility’s condition,” she said.

Initially, the complex has the capacity to accommodate up to 150 less fortunate children but now they were forced to limit the number due to safety reasons.

As such, the complex can only accommodate 64 children, including 24 girls, under the care of 17 staff currently.

Previously, nine blocks were utilised, but due to the situation, only seven are safe to be occupied.

The complex management has cordoned off the badly damaged building after it was declared unsafe by the authorities.

Sitting on peat soil foundation, the area adjacent to the complex has been one of the spots where thick smoke is normally detected come the dry season.

In 2015, a Bomba helicopter was deployed to the area adjacent to the complex performing water bomb operation, to stop bush fire from spreading further.

Four years later, in 2019,  bush fire was also spotted nearby the complex during the dry season.

During the dry season that year, on August 10, the API reading recorded (from Miri Training Institute or ILP Miri) was at 390 , the worst in the country then. — DayakDaily