Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Strong winds hit Sabah's west coast causing massive damage and power outages

A farmer is feared dead following the devastating storm that hit Sabah’s west coast.

The farmer, in her 70s, is reported to have been buried under soil and mud at the remote Kampung Mesilau near the foothills of Mount Kina­balu.

The landslip occurred amid heavy rains and strong winds of 85kph that wreaked havoc along the coast from 9.30am yesterday.

The gusts also caused several buildings to collapse while certain areas experienced power outages.

Ranau district police chief Deputy Supt Abdul Rahman Kassim said the farmer was taking shelter from the rain in a hut when rocks and sludge washed down from a hillslope.

“Firemen, police and villagers have mounted a search for her through the rubble,” he said, adding that they were trying to get heavy machinery into the area to assist in rescue operations.

Elsewhere, the storm caused a wooden house on stilts at Kg Gaya in Pulau Gaya near here to collapse at about 10am. Dozens of trees in the vicinity were also uprooted.

“Our houses were shaking and suddenly, we heard a crash and saw the house crash into the sea that is about three metres deep,” said village head Saimah Salam, adding that luckily no one was in the house at the time.

Meanwhile, the Fire and Rescue Services Department reported that winds uprooted dozens of trees in the city, Penampang and the Sipitang district in the south of Sabah.

Several parts of Kota Kinabalu, including Luyang, Penampang, Menggatal and Inanam, experienced power outages and had their electricity supply restored at about 3pm.

Sabah Meteorological Services Department director Abdul Malik Tussin said the strong southwesterly winds were due to a tropical depression over eastern Philippines.

“We expect this type of weather to persist until tomorrow,” he said.


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