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HRH the Crown Prince of Brunei Darussalam Checks Post-Flood Repair Works

HIS Royal Highness Prince Hj Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office, yesterday surveyed the latest developments in restoration works during a tour of several residences and government property affected by recent floods in the Brunei-Muara District.

Following a high-level closed-door meeting held among ministers and senior government officials to review post-flood rehabilitation measures, His Royal Highness visited a severely affected residential area in Kg Pelambayan near Kota Batu in the capital.

His Royal Highness, who is also the chairman of the National Disaster Council, saw first hand costly damages afflicted on two houses on a hilly area overlooking the Brunei river, which fell apart after a retaining wall gave way following days of persistent rain. The damages, according to neighbours, are estimated to be around $1.5 million each.

"No one was hurt. (Other than the houses), no property has been damaged," said 54-year-old neighbour Mohammad Hanif, who commended the authorities for swift action in the evacuation of the two houses several days before it completely gave way.

Eight surrounding houses were immediately evacuated following the collapse.

"The challenge now, is for the authorities to stabilise the eroding hill and make this place habitable again," said Mohammad.

Neighbouring residents also expressed concern on the possible blockage of the access road connecting the residential area to the main road, and called for more preventative measures to overcome similar occurrences in the future.

"Brunei needs more contingency plans," said one resident.

"We'd like to know what is going to happen next, and that is something we'd highly appreciate," said the resident, who is temporarily staying with a relative upon orders by the Fire and Rescue Department to evacuate.

His Royal Highness and a delegation of several ministers and senior government officials later proceeded to inspect another affected site along Sg Akar, where a retaining wall has bent over, leaning towards the main road under the weight of eroding soil.

The main road leading from the roundabout near Manggis Dua to Subok was closed off as His Royal Highness received a briefing from government officials, causing temporary traffic congestion.

His Royal Highness the Crown Prince later proceeded to inspect a power station in Gadong, a barrack housing Electrical Services Department employees and a major drainage channel along Sg Tampoi, Ban 3, before ending the half-day working tour.

Heavy rains started late on January 20 in Bandar Seri Begawan, causing landslides and the worst floods to hit the country in nearly 40 years.

The flash floods and landslides, which interrupted power supply and shutting some telephone lines, left two dead.

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