Fearing another tragedy, residents drain abandoned bauxite mine

File photo showing family members of the drowned victims arriving at the bauxite mine in Taman Sungai Karang Jaya, Kuantan February 4, 2017. — Bernama pic
File photo showing family members of the drowned victims arriving at the bauxite mine in Taman Sungai Karang Jaya, Kuantan February 4, 2017. — Bernama pic

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KUANTAN, Feb 6 — Fearing another tragedy may occur if no immediate action taken, the residents of Taman Sungai Karang Jaya here today decided to take their own initiative to drain the water from the disused bauxite mining pond that saw three children drowned last Saturday.

The most relieved individual to see the dry pool was none other than Mohd Sharif Awang Ngah, 50, father of Nureen Ain Juwita, one of the children drowned in the incident.

“I was relieved to see no more water in that pool that killed my youngest child. I hope this incident served as a lesson to all...if we look at the pool now, it is deep and scary.

“It would be very dangerous for anyone to fall into the pool, especially young children,” he told reporters when met at the site here, today.

In the 5pm incident on Saturday, Nureen Ain Juwita, 10, and her two friends Salsabila Zuhairi, 12, and Mahathir Mohamad, 7, were found drowned in the pool.

Today, Taman Sungai Karang Jaya Residents Association built a temporary drain to channel the water from the pool into the the monsoon drain in the housing area.

Mohd Sharif, a security guard, said that he also lodged a police report at 6pm yesterday, so the investigation to identify the companies involved could start for appropriate action to be taken. 

Meanwhile, the association committee member Aziyadi Abdullah, 46, said it took the team an hour to build the temporary drain to divert the water from the pool.

He said the residents’ initiative was supported by Indera Mahkota Umno division which provided the association with a backhoe to help with digging.

“The disused pool is just too close to our residential area. Even though children rarely play there due to the heat and exposed area, we just would not know when they would turn up there.

“So far, no company or any individual have come forward as the owner. I was told the authorities are still conducting investigations to identify the owner,” he said.

Aziyadi said since the incident last Saturday, various government agencies visited the area including the Land and Mines Office and Mineral and Geoscience Department.

He said the residents decided to build a temporary drain as an immediate solution despite knowing that it could cause flash floods in the housing area.

Based on past experiences, four houses next to the pool would be flooded when the monsoon drain in the housing areas could not cope with water from heavy rainfall, he said.

“But our priority for now is to drain that abandoned pool as we don’t want it to continue to be a death trap for the children here,” he said. — Bernama

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