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October 08, 2010 15:50 PM

Rajang River Still Innavigable Due To Massive Floating Debris

SIBU, Oct 8 (Bernama) -- The Sarawak government will conduct a thorough investigation into the alarming situation where long stretches of debris floating on the Rajang River has rendered it innavigable to all boats here Friday.

"We need to find out the causes, but if there are evidence to indicate that it is due to human factor, stern action will be taken against the perpetrators," said State Minister of Environment and Public Health Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh.

The country's longest river, the Rajang at 563 kilometres long from its source, was innavigable to all boats, big or small, from about noon, here.

The river was like a conveyor belt in a sawmill but instead of transporting uniformly cut wood, it carried an endless flow of uprooted trees, discarded logs and all manner of vegetative debris from Kapit, some 176km away.

Kapit experienced an alarming situation from about 2pm yesterday.

Wong who watched the scene from the Kapit Express Boat Terminal, described the situation as a "natural calamity of gigantic proportion".

"I was told in Kapit yesterday that the debris was about 50km long.

"It is still continuing in Kapit today although happening in smaller portions and length," he told reporters at the scene.

Wong said he had been told that there had been massive landslides in Putai and Nungun, which are logging concession areas in Balleh in the interiors of Kapit Divison due to heavy rain a few days ago.

But he said he was still waiting for detailed reports from the state Natural Resources and Environment Ministry.

Wong said the situation had never been seen or experienced here before and was rather scary.

"When the situation improves and there is a navigable path along the river, teams from the Public Works Department and Sarawak Rivers Board will check on the Durin and Lanang bridges to dislodge any debris that might have been trapped at their foundations in the river.

Meanwhile, express boats and other vessels leaving on afternoon trips to Kapit had to delay their trips.

Those who left this morning, had to stop somewhere safe along the route.



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