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Monday, September 14, 2015

Errant hill clearing by developers causes of floods, sinkholes, seepages damaged houses!

Misery raining down: The stretch in Paya Terubong is flooded during the downpour on Saturday Sept 12, 2015 — Photo courtesy of Gerakan secretary Oh Tong Keong.

GEORGE TOWN: The flash floods in low-lying parts on the island especially Air Itam, Paya Terubong and Bukit Jambul were caused by uncontrolled development of the hills, claimed state Gerakan secretary Oh Tong Keong.

“Paya Terubong became flooded after a downpour that lasted more than an hour and this was due to the clearing of the hills in Air Itam. The state has given developers a free hand to carry out their projects on the hills.

“The situation is so bad now that we do not even know if these developers are genuine as the state has failed to take action against anyone despite the local media reporting about our hills going bald due to development,” he said when contacted yesterday.

Pictures of a stretch in Paya Terubong being flooded have been circulating online since the downpour on Saturday with a news portal claiming that the cutting of hills and development of new condominiums were the cause of the floods.

Local Government, Traffic Management and Flood Mitigation Project chairman Chow Kon Yew said the flooding was the cause of work being carried out by a developer involved in a high-rise project in the area.

“The drains became blocked and this resulted in the water flowing onto the road during the downpour. Workers were sent by the developer to clear the drain and the water receded within an hour.” - The Star

Massive flood water from IJM Trehous construction project next to Bukit Jambul Hill pond is now flooded, overflown, diverted and entered visibly through inside houses at Lintang Bukit Jambul 1, instead of direct to the drain at Paya Terubong road. This is because the pond water outlet was choked and the original underground piping system is confirmed broken and formed sinkholes with water diverted to residential houses.

Pond water overflown to houses

Sinkhole in front of house

<< Pond water flown out from house to drain 

These caused damages to houses due to soil erosion, multiple slabs collapsed, multiple cracks; broken tiles: cements, pipes and water leakages, etc.

House Slabs collapsed

To prevent further damages to houses, residents proposed to Penang City Council to construct an alternate outlet for pond water smoothly flown out to alternate area, close and seal up with cement the existing outlet which was not properly constructed as it was choked/stucked all the times.

Probe on cause of mudslide

GEORGE TOWN: Illegal hill clearing behind the Green Garden Apartments in Paya Terubong could have been the cause behind the mudslide on Wednesday.

Flood Mitigation Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow said there was a possibility that the hill was illegally cleared for farming.

A team has been sent to inspect the hill to determine how the mudslide occurred and to investigate the extent of the illegal clearing.

“We will have a press conference on Saturday to explain what we discovered.

“I can’t say much yet as investigations are ongoing,” he said yesterday.

Chow added that the flash floods were also due to the inability of two retention ponds in two development sites in the area to cope with the surface runoff.

Works to widen and deepen the retention ponds are ongoing.

Early Wednesday morning, a downpour caused a deluge of fast-flowing mud and debris from the hills to hit Jalan Paya Terubong while flash floods hit low-lying areas of the island.

In a press statement issued on the same day, Chow said the flash floods in Penang were due to an increased surface runoff where the water level increased suddenly, causing drains to be filled to the brim.

“The drains in George Town were not designed to handle such heavy rainfall,” he said.

A check on Penang’s tide chart also showed that the rising tide was highest at 8.19am, about an hour after the rain began in most parts.

Among the worst affected areas were Bandar Baru Perda, Kampung Nelayan, Kampung Sulup, Kampung 14 and Kampung Masjid in Teluk Kumbar, and Kampung Seronok and Kampung Binjai in Bayan Lepas.

According to a weather review from August to October available on the Malaysian Meteorological Department website, countries in South-East Asia are currently in the phase of the south-west monsoon.

Floods and mudslide hit Penang

GEORGE TOWN: An early morning downpour caused flash floods in many parts of the town here, leading to traffic snarls at low-lying areas like Jalan Khaw Sim Bee, Jalan Westland, Jalan P. Ramlee, Jalan Logan, Jalan Anson, Jalan Transfer and Jalan Hutton.

However, the worst-hit areas were away from the town centre, with a deluge of mud and sand hitting Jalan Paya Terubong heading towards Balik Pulau.

There was also a bumper-to-bumper crawl after an uprooted tree blocked a good part of the road.

Traffic police were deployed to the scene to control the traffic flow until the tree was removed.

Resident Y.S. Chai, 42, who lives in a terrace house in Jalan Paya Terubong, said the flash flood was one of the worst that had ever occurred as it washed mud and soil down to the road and into the house compounds.
Deluged: Water flowing down the hillslope in Paya Terubong, Air Itam. – ZAINUDIN AHAD / The Star.

She said the heavy rain lasted for only about 30 minutes but muddy waters rose very quickly and rushed onto the front porch of her house.

“I have never encountered a flood this bad before. It took us around three hours to clean everything up,” she said.

Further down the road, a gloomy Pon Kah Tong sprayed water from a hose to clear the mud that had accumulated in his car service workshop.

Paya Terubong is an area that has seen rapid development in recent years.

The floods subsided before noon.


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