Plan To Relocate Riverine Dwellers From Eroding Riverbanks

KUCHING: Relocating villagers living along the riverbank of Sungai Bako to a safer area is the best way to deal with homes being eroded at the riverbank.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said: This is better than spending up to RM20 million to build concrete walls using the ‘sheet pile’ concept. This matter will be brought to the state government when I meet the chief minister (Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg) later.

Erosion will continue as long as there are tides. The step we have taken is to move residents living up to 200m from the riverbank to a new and safer village settlement.

Wan Junaidi was met by reporters after a site visit to inspect the eroding banks of Sungai Bako Hulu yesterday.

He said after relocating the villagers, the residential area would be turned into Sungai Bako Waterfront with basic facilities such as clinic, hall, mosque and schools.

The Santubong MP added that he would get the information, feedback and agreement from affected villagers assisted by village chiefs and party leaders in the area.

On the new village settlement, Wan Junaidi said the suggested location would be by the roadside near Bako Bridge, which is near completion.

If this suggestion is agreed upon and accepted, we estimate that some 1,000 villagers living along the riverbank will be relocated, he said.

I will get the consent of villagers involved before bringing this matter to the top with the cooperation of Demak Laut assemblyman Dr Hazland Abang Hipni, who is the elected representative here, he added.

Wan Junaidi reiterated that this would be the best long term measure for Kampung Bako Hulu.

Kampung Bako consists of Kampung Bako Hulu and Kampung Bako Hilir with a population of about 3,000 people living in 400 houses.

Source: Borneo Post Online