Several schools located in drought-stricken areas in the state may have to temporarily close if they do not receive clean water supply.

drjulaihi-bujangSarawak Education director Dr Julaihi Bujang said the dry season was being worsened by the Influenza A(H1N1) outbreak and students staying in the school hostels would be most affected by water supply shortage.

“So far, no school has to temporarily close, but I have been informed that several schools would be facing shortage of clean water supply and the problem has been referred to the relevant authorities,” he told Bernama when contacted here on Tuesday.

He said among the residential schools identified were Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Suai, near Miri, and SMK Belawai, near Mukah, which have been facing water supply shortage since the dry season began some weeks ago.

Dr Julaihi said his department would seek immediate assistance from the State Natural Disaster and Relief Committee so as to prevent the schools from having to close temporarily due to water supply shortage as it would affect lessons.

The effects of the El Nino phenomenon have been felt in Sarawak since about a month ago where about 18,000 people, especially those living along the coastal areas, have been facing drought.

Yesterday, State Natural Disaster and Relief Committee chairman Tan Sri Dr George Chan said eight divisions in Sarawak that had been badly affected by drought were Kuching, Samarahan, Batong, Sarikei, Mukah, Bintulu, Miri and Limbang.

He said the El Nino phenomenon was expected to continue until September or October with a 50 per cent decrease in rainfall. — BERNAMA