Esscom denies tsunami rumours in Sabah’s east coast as floods hit KK

Rescue personnel evacuate villagers from Kampung Dabak in Penampang, Sabah October 7, 2014. — Picture by Julia Chan
Rescue personnel evacuate villagers from Kampung Dabak in Penampang, Sabah October 7, 2014. — Picture by Julia Chan

KOTA KINABALU, Oct 7 — The Eastern Sabah Security Command today denied issuing a tsunami warning for Sabah’s east coast amidst flooding in the state capital after three days of rain.

Its corporate communications chief, Newmond Tibin said Esscom, added the agency did not make a media statement on behalf of the Sabah branch of the Malaysian Meteorological Department purporting of a possible tsunami in the Eastern Sabah Security Zone during the next 36 hours.

“Any official media statement by ESSCom will only be issued through the Corporate Communications Unit or the portal, ESSCom Times,” he said, commenting on rumours in social media.

He urged the public, especially those living in the ten districts under the ESSZone to be calm and not to act on rumours.

Sabah Meteorological Department director Abdul Malek Tussin also denied the claim, saying his department has been receiving phone calls from worried residents.

“The rumours of the tsunami are just that, rumours,” he said, adding that all official warnings and news are updated on the Malaysian Meteorological Department website.

Suburban areas around the city have been severely hit by floods following a downpour since Saturday, with many stalled vehicles causing traffic to come to a standstill and people leaving their homes in its wake.

Villages in low-lying areas in Penampang, Inanam, Tuaran, Lok Kawi, Papar and Menggatal district were evacuated and residents sent to higher ground as water levels rose to shoulder high in some areas.

Rescue operations were underway to relocate villagers from Kampung Dabak, Kibabaig and Moyog in Penampang, where houses and shop lots were submerged in waters up to a metre deep.

Affected residents were taken to the Tun Fuad community hall in Donggongon while the floods subside.

Coffee shop owner Ronnie Ting said that water from the Moyog river in Penampang behind his shop started coming in fast at about 9am.

“We opened for business at 7am, and the water level was already very high. The river started overflowing about an hour after and my shop was flooded in a matter of minutes,” said Ting, adding that electricity was cut off at about 10am.

Hundreds of houses around Kota Kinabalu have been affected by the three day downpour, October 7, 2014. — Picture by Julia Chan
Hundreds of houses around Kota Kinabalu have been affected by the three day downpour, October 7, 2014. — Picture by Julia Chan

State education department director Datuk Jame Alip said some 18 schools in Papar, Kota Kinabalu, Penampang and Kota Belud were affected by floods, with 10 of them closing for the day due to lack of access.

Meanwhile, weather forecasts from the department said that the intermittent rain is expected to continue till Thursday and the use of small crafts and recreational sea activities were discouraged due to strong winds and rough seas over the waters off Perlis, Kedah, Penang, Miri in Sarawak,  the interior, West Coast and Kudat in Sabah and Labuan.

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