DELUGE PAINTS GRIM PICTURE
Residents blame uncontrolled farming
THE flash flood in Ringlet might be the harbinger of worse calamities in Cameron Highlands, warned a local environmental non-governmental organisation.
Regional Environment Awareness Cameron Highlands (Reach) president Ramakrishnan Ramasamy said amid the spate of flash floods that struck Cameron Highlands this year, the deluge in Ringlet painted a grim picture.
“The problem lies in uncontrolled farming upstream. This has made floods worse by causing rainfall run-off, but farmers don’t want more regulations as it would cost them money.
“Meanwhile. it’s the people downstream who get a soaking,” he told the New Straits Times.
He said the authorities should work with farmowners to practise proper land management to improve soil water storage capacity.
Ramasamy said they should not wait until there was another mud flood in Bertam Valley.
He was referring to an October 2013 incident that killed four people and left more than 80 houses and several cars destroyed in the Bertam Valley settlement areas.
On Tuesday, a two-hour downpour caused a flash flood, affecting 32 people, including those at the Ringlet police station.
Three policemen families and 24 villagers living near the Sungai Ringlet riverbank were affected, but no injuries were reported.
Local activist Suresh Kumar said the brownish colour and massive volume of water were indications that land clearing was rampant.
Suresh, who is the local Parti Sosialis Malaysia branch leader, said government rules on soil management were often ignored by farmers.
Cameron Highlands District Drainage and Irrigation Department engineer Tengku Suhaili Tengku Abas said a river-widening project in Ringlet would start in July to address flash floods. The project would take 34 months to complete.
She said 31 families living near Sungai Ringlet were being relocated to various parts of Cameron Highlands and had received RM11.5 million in compensation.
Villager Jamil Abdullah, 60, said a retention wall in front of his house was damaged in the flash flood on Tuesday.
His neighbour, A. Ganesan, 52, hoped that the authorities would carry out temporary measures while waiting for the project to be completed.
A. Ganesan (right) and Jamil Abdullah looking at the damage caused by swift-flowing waters in Sungai Ringlet yesterday.