Forty families from two longhouses in Kanowit had to evacuate to higher ground when their longhouses in Mapai were hit by floods.

Sibu Division Resident Chai Moi Fong said the longhouses affected were Rh.Selungang with 13 families and Rh.Awing with 27.

He said they were among the first victims of the floods which had hit not only Kanowit but also Sibu and the Selangau districts since last night.

He told reporters here today that the floods were due to heavy rainfall experienced since Monday in the upstream areas of the Rajang River which coincided with the seasonal high tide.

“Sibu Division is going to experience two rounds of king tide occurrence from Dec 11 to 16 and from Dec 23 until the end of the year. If there is heavy rainfall in the upstream areas, the low-lying downstream area is going to face floods”.

Chai said there were at least four critical flood-prone areas in Sibu — Ling Kai Cheng Road, Stabau, Tapang Road and villages by the banks of the Rejang and Igan Rivers such as Kampung Datu, Kampung Hilir, Kampung Baru and Kampung Nangka.

“We are monitoring the situation closely. Rest assured We have enough food rations. We have put on stand-by 28 heavy vehicles and 16 boats to do evacuation and other services if the need arises.

We have also identified the evacuation centres. Our Flood Operations Room at the Sri Rejang Government Resthouse is now operational around the clock. Those in need of assistance can call 084-334852,” said Chai, who is the divisional Natural Disaster Relief Committee chairman.

Many people here were caught by the floods this morning and traffic jams were common.

According to divisional Drainage and Irrigation engineer Faizal Suki, the worst affected parts were under about one metre of water.

He said the king tides were predicted to happen at 10 tonight, 9am and 10pm tomorrow. Friday (9am and 11pm), Saturday (10am and 11pm) and at midnight Sunday.