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Belaga folk left high and dry - Dam related
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Belaga folk left high and dry - Dam related
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By ZORA CHAN
zora@thestar.com.my | Nov 13, 2010
Belaga folk left high and dry
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I shorten the whole context. too long to read la click link to check out the original article

1) Life is tough. That’s a fact the people in the district have learnt the hard way. ... very little water flowing from upstream... Sandy banks and riverbed are visible and in some places ... making navigation impossible for tugboats and express boats ... people can play football on the riverbed.

2) Community leader Penghulu Neo Hood Joo, 62, said ... Even in the driest months, between June and July, the water level was still higher than what it is now ... “We didn’t expect the water level to be so low that it stops express boats and tongkang operations from Kapit to Belaga,” he said. Neo (Matrix?) said the government and experts should have anticipated this and built a road to link Kapit and Belaga before the impoundment began.

3) He said the locals also feared that the coming rainy season would hamper transportation by land as some parts of the logging tracks would become too muddy and slippery.

4) Neo said people in Belaga who worked in Kapit and Sibu would have problems ... “They will have to fork out extra expenses to return by land from Bintulu. This also means a longer journey home, from just three hours by express boat from Kapit to two days by express boat from Kapit to Sibu, then from Sibu to Bintulu by land or air.

5) “A trip home that used to cost RM50 or less is now up to RM200 per person,” he added. ... students studying at SMK Belaga would also face difficulty going back to their longhouses along the river.

6) “They can only use small longboats ... longer time ... dangerous because they have to navigate past rapids downstream,” he added. There are about 30 longhouse villages along the river.

7) Echoing the same sentiment, Penghulu Nicholas Mering Kulleh, 52, said most villagers could not afford to buy life jackets which cost between RM30 and RM50 each. “If there are five people in a family, that’s more than RM100 and the people, who are mainly self-sufficient farmers, cannot afford it,” he said.

8) “Those living along the river are putting their lives at risk whenever they go to Belaga bazaar because of rapids, rocky riverbeds, jutting logs and dead trees,” said the community leader, fondly known as Penghulu Nyalang... also worried about sick villagers not ... help from Belaga Hospital due to drying river.

9) “Life is tough. I am afraid it will be tougher in the coming days if the water level gets lower each day and there is not enough rain,” he added.

10) A villager from Rumah Tanjong, William Liah, 43, said he used to catch three to four fish a day weighing a few kilogrammes each, but that had changed.

11) “It’s getting harder to catch fish as the fish have gone elsewhere,” he said, adding that he planted padi and caught fish to survive. Showing a fish weighing about 4kg that he had just caught after a week, he said it would fetch him about RM90, which was just enough to buy fuel to return home from the Belaga baazar. ... “It’s tough and risky, but do we have a choice? We still need to eat and live,” he said.

Posted on: 2010/11/14 21:42
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2012, where will we be the day after tomorrow? Ans: Still here la. www.resuree.blogspot.com
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