News:There is a possibility of another landslide in Hulu Langat as heavy rains prolong, warns PWD

The Star, 1 Dec 2012

PETALING JAYA: The Public Works Department has advised residents in the Hulu Langat area to be on “high alert” following two landslides in the area within the past week.

“There is always a possibility of another landslide, especially during and after heavy or prolonged rainfall,” said PWD slope engineering unit head Dr Che Hassandi Abdullah.

He urged those living on hilly terrain and near slopes to heed the warnings and alerts from the department and the local authorities.

“The hillslopes in Hulu Langat are among the landslide-prone areas identified by the department in its National Slope Master Plan Study,” he said yesterday.

On Monday, heavy rain caused a minor rockslide behind the kitchen wall of the Perkid welfare home, near Kajang, snapping two pillars and endangering the lives of four girls there.

On Thursday, five people – travelling in three vehicles – narrowly escaped injury when a stretch along Jalan Kerchau, near the Semenyih dam, collapsed.

On May 21 last year, a killer landslide claimed the lives of 16 young people from the Madrasah Al-Taqwa Orphanage, near Kajang, following overnight rain.

Asked about the road collapse near the Sememyih dam, Dr Che Hassandi said the department could not be certain what caused it until a thorough investigation was done.

“We believe it is either due to leakage of a culvert, water seepage (under ground), softening and weakening of the toe of the embankment or a combination of these elements.”

However, he said the department was not aware of the exact number of high hazard and high-risk slopes in Hulu Langat as a hazard and risk mapping study had yet to be carried out.

He urged the Selangor Government to carry out the study, adding that the PWD was prepared to provide technical advice.

There are reportedly 21,000 landslide-prone areas nationwide, with 16,000 or 76% of the areas in peninsula Malaysia, about 3,000 in Sabah and 2,000 in Sarawak.

Meanwhile, Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID) river basin and coastal management division chief Datuk Lim Chow Hock said the slopes and types of soil in the area made Hulu Langat landslide-prone whenever there was heavy rainfall.

He said landslides were caused by either sudden, high intensity rain or continuous rain over two or three days that weaken the soil.

Another high-risk area in the Klang Valley, he said, was Bukit Antarabangsa in Ampang.