Wednesday October 24, 2012
Heed landslide warning signs
By P. ARUNA
CAMERON HIGHLANDS: Having identified 21,000 landslide-prone areas nationwide and in view of the current inter-monsoon season, the Works Ministry has asked the public to look out for “early warning signs” for landslides in their residential areas.
Among the signs are new or widening cracks on structures in or outside the home; to be wary of concentrated water overflowing onto slopes; bulges on cement or concrete surfaces of slopes or signs of soil erosion.
Minister Datuk Seri Shaziman Abu Mansor said about 16,000 or 76% of the areas, identified through the ministry's slope engineering division, are in peninsular Malaysia, followed by about 3,000 in Sabah and 2000 in Sarawak.
“We want to remind road users and people who reside in hilly areas that the risks of landslides are higher during the rainy season. They must inform their local authorities if there is any sign of soil erosion and evacuate immediately,” he said during a visit to a landslide location here yesterday.
He had instructed the state Works Department, especially in Perak, to be on alert for signs of possible landslides.
He said residents should look out for trees which fell on their own or stones or debris falling from slopes.
“There is no need to panic. Just understand the early signs,” he added.
Shaziman said his ministry was conducting an “inventory” on all landslide-prone slopes in the country to come up with a comprehensive map detailing all the 21,000 areas.
“The data includes the type of soil, slope history, level of danger and risks involved and whether it has ever collapsed before,” he added.
The information would help to determine the most critical areas to be given priority in terms of maintenance works, he added.
The ministry has already spent RM221.6mil of the RM360mil allocated to protecting slopes so far this year.
Among the projects completed were along the Jalan Simpang Pulai-Lojing-Gua Musang-Kuala Berang route, which is among the “high-risk areas” identified.
He said RM84mil had been allocated for remedial work on this stretch alone, which has a high traffic volume.
He added that areas in Sabah were most difficult due to its landscape.
According to the Public Works Department's Slope Engineering Unit head Dr Che Hassandi Abdullah, the data collection process for the inventory was expected to be done by June next year.