The Star, 27 Jun 2014
MIRI: Rural folk in interior Sarawak are making early preparations to face the onslaught of the El-Nino phenomenon which could mean water shortage in many remote settlements.
They are asking the Federal authorities for huge water tanks to be delivered fast so that they can store rainwater starting now when there are still some rain.
At least 11 better populated settlements in the Baram district have already asked for urgent supply of the 1Malaysia water tanks, each of which can store up to 400 gallons of water (1,600 litres).
They have sent official request to the Rural and Regional Development Ministry to supply them with the water tanks.
Telang Usan assemblyman Dennis Ngau is handling the matter with the ministry in Putrajaya on behalf of the settlements.
Ngau told The Star yesterday that the request for the water tanks was part of the early preparations to face possible prolonged drought in the coming months if the El-Nino hits this region as has been predicted by the Meteorological Department.
“I have already sent the request for the water tanks which should come in very handy.
“Our request is for every family to get one tank, meaning each can expect to have 400 gallons of water at any one time. That amount of water should be able to last a few weeks if used sparingly,” Ngau said.
To a question, Ngau said the weather in the interior seemed to be getting hotter but with intermittent rain.
Ngau hoped Putrajaya could send the water tanks fast so that they could be transported into the rural settlements soonest and installed without delay.
It is understood that the Federal Cabinet is already calling for a special meeting on El-Nino and making preparations for contingency plans to deal with its impact that is expected to last from next month until October.
Last month the Meteorological Department warned of the possibility of a severe El-Nino that could create serious droughts, forest-fires and haze throughout southern Asia.
Sarawak and Sabah are predicted to be among the worst-hit.