Blog reader Anak Kuching shares with us his thoughts about the floods that hit the Sarawak capital:
Many comments both official and unoffical have been made each time there is a flood in Kuching. The 2009 flood – was it as bad as the last one in 2004? Perhaps just as bad but the media didn’t highlight some of the areas as intensely this time like they did in 2004. Was it due to the fact it was supposed to be a happy week for Sarawakians on the Chief Minister’s 50th wedding anniversary?
I have heard of floods in the same areas as before. Locals blame it ignorantly or otherwise on the barrage and causeway across to Bako. I am pretty sure these two (the barrage and causeway) played a role in the flood. To what extent, perhaps one will have to go further back into the history of floods in Kuching and its surrounding areas and make comparisons then and now.
You also have to take into account development factors. Greed drove developers to clear and build on low-lying swampy lands. Not only are these buildings (notably houses and shophouses) expensive, they are poorly built and prone to cracks and sinking. In certain areas, drainage was not even properly built. The local councils are equally to be blamed for granting permits to build in low-lying areas. Sarawak is a large state with a relatively small population. Couldn’t they approve in places that, though further away, are less prone to floods and other problems?
Did the current construction of the Benggoh Dam further away from Kuching contribute to the floods especially in the village of Giam?
Two things that strike me about the floods this time in Kuching.
First, we have a Deputy Chief Minister who is in charge of the state disaster management unit. At the height of floods, he says these places cannot be reached even by helicopters due to the bad weather. Hey, what kind of disaster management plan is that? Get suitable helicopters that can fly anytime, anywhere. We managed to send Dr SMS to space! Surely, if Malaysia Boleh, so can Sarawak Boleh.
Secondly, and surprisingly, even the lifts at the Sarawak General Hospital were affected by the flooding at its basement level. The doors of four lifts were jamed. Another two which was under ‘repair’ or something to that effect had to be used instead. I have never heard of the Sarawak General Hospital ever being affected by the floods. So why this time? Could it be due to the renovation works that is currently being done?
So finally, who or what do you blame? Mother Nature? Greed? The barrage? Development? First and foremost, we need to blame ourselves for voting clowns into the government in the first place. Instead of servicing the people, these clowns are taking all for a ride. If it doesn’t rain over the Chinese New Year period (king tides during that week as well), all will be forgotten of the 2009 floods until the next floods hit. It will keep coming back until we truly understand what we have done or have contributed to its causes.