KOTA KINABALU: Immediate mitigation measures have been put in place at flood-hit areas around Sabah, says Deputy Chief Minister I Datuk Seri Dr Jeffrey Kitingan.

He said steps to prevent further damage have been taken, while the priority is still to ensure that victims receive all the help they need such as food, clean water, clothing and medical care.

The flood mitigation measures include maintenance of monsoon drains as well as the cleaning and dredging of drains and rivers, he added.

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“We are implementing a rigorous schedule of routine maintenance… inspections, cleaning, and repairs to ensure that drainage systems function optimally and are capable of handling heavy rainfall,” he said on Wednesday (July 3).

The dredging of drains and rivers was being carried out within budgetary and resource constraints, he noted.

“By removing debris, sediment and obstructions, we aim to improve water flow and reduce the risk of overflow,” he said.

Kitingan said sustainable and comprehensive long-term solutions to flooding were also being expedited, including the integrated Moyog River basin project.

The project involves putting up additional flood control structures, stabilising the riverbanks and improving drainage systems that are crucial to reducing the risk of overflow during heavy rainfall.

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Kitingan said the state government was fast-tracking the implementation of packages involving flood mitigation, aiming to start work on them this year with completion targeted by 2029.

In sending his thoughts and prayers to those affected by the floods that hit numerous parts of the state on Sunday (June 30), he urged the Federal Government to provide urgent assistance to Sabah to compensate victims and cover the substantial clean-up costs.

“I would like to express my deepest condolences to the family of Monica Ting Siew Kong, aged 37, who tragically lost her life after drowning in Penampang.

“This loss is deeply felt by the community, and our thoughts and prayers are with her family during this difficult period.

“We will continue to offer support and assistance to her family and to all those who have been affected by this tragedy,” he added.

Kitingan also said the state was dedicated to working with all stakeholders to implement effective flood management strategies, including investment in advanced technology and early warning systems.

It would also work with communities to promote awareness and disaster preparedness, he added.

“Collaboration (with the Federal Government) will enable us to provide the necessary resources and support to those impacted by this disaster, and implement long-term measures needed to prevent future occurrences,” he said.

The recent flood was deemed the worst in 20 years in Penampang, with shifting flooding patterns affecting areas that had never been hit before, and severely impacting certain flood-prone areas while missing others.