Bruneians in Kota Kinabalu safe

, , National 3 minutes, 13 seconds


ALL Bruneians staying in Kota Kinabalu are safe from the 5.9-magnitude earthquake that struck Ranau in Sabah at 7.15am yesterday.

An officer at the Consulate General of Brunei Darussalam in Kota Kinabalu told The Brunei Times that all Bruneians staying in Kota Kinabalu, including students and staff of the Consulate General office, were all safe.

Alhamdulillah, all Bruneians here are okay, we are in contact with the Bruneian students, and they are fine. Though they are a bit worried, daily activities here operate as usual,” the officer said.

No Bruneian was reported to be climbing Mount Kinabalu at the time the quake struck.

“We have been asking (relevant parties) and so far we have not heard of any Bruneian climbing Mount Kinabalu,” he said, adding that the local authorities have cancelled all climbing activities for safety reasons.

Bruneians who are travelling in Kota Kinabalu are strongly encouraged to stay in touch with the Consulate General of Brunei for safety purposes, he added.

Media reported that climbers got stranded on Mount Kinabalu as a result of the moderate quake, which struck at a depth of 10km with the epicentre located about 64km east of Kota Kinabalu.

Later in the day, a Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) helicopter was dispatched to help the hikers and brought them food and water.

In Brunei, tremors were also felt in the capital where people were evacuated from some buildings.

The Sultanate’s National Disaster Management Centre (NDMC) said in a statement that distress calls were made in the Brunei-Muara District following the tremors felt in the vicinity of the country’s capital.

Yves Grosjean, General Manager of Total E & P Deep Offshore Borneo BV, whose office is located in RB Plaza said evacuation was initiated because tremors were felt by the staff.

“At that time we did not know about the earthquake in Sabah. Evacuation was decided as we did not know what to expect,” said Grosjean, adding that the evacuation took place at 7.15am.

Upon learning there was an earthquake in Sabah, they then liaised with the building management to initiate a visual inspection for any signs of damage.

Staff were allowed back in their offices at 9.30am, he said.

Royal Brunei (RB) airlines said on its Facebook page: “In reference to the tremor experienced at RB Plaza in Bandar Seri Begawan, our Health, Safety and Security Department, and the Fire Department have declared the building safe to operate.”

Offices at RB Plaza including RB’s Customer Service Centre and Royal Skies Elite Lounge have returned to normal operations, it said yesterday.

The NDMC said that the Fire and Rescue Department received a number of emergency calls that confirmed tremors were felt in a few more buildings in the Sultanate’s capital.

“Tremors were reported at buildings namely the RB Plaza, HSBC Main Branch, Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam (BIBD) and the Brunei Malay Teachers Association (PGGMB).”

“Inspections ... revealed that all the buildings were in a safe condition and did not suffer from any major damage or cracks,” the statement read.

In Belait, no emergency calls or evacuations relating to tremors were received by fire stations in the district, according to Fire and Rescue Commanding Officer of Belait Branch ‘B’, Muhd Shahreeni Hj Mohd Yussof.

The NDMC stated that even though no emergency calls were received in the other districts, the Fire and Rescue Department, with cooperation from the District Offices, have conducted safety inspections on the buildings as a precautionary measure and to ensure the buildings are in a safe and secure condition.

The Brunei Darussalam Meteorological Department under the Ministry of Communications stated that no tsunami warnings were issued in Sabah nor Brunei as the earthquake occurred on land.

The public can contact the fire department at its emergency hotline 995, the Royal Brunei Police Force at 995 and the ambulance at 991.

The Brunei Times