Homeowners reach out to government for assistance

National 2 minutes, 36 seconds

TUTONG

KG DANAU residents affected by the coastal erosion urged the relevant authorities to prioritise the safety and welfare of their houses that are in danger of collapsing.

According to an earlier report, winds reaching speeds of 60 kilometres per hour earlier this week raised the tide in Kg Danau in Tutong, eroding the coastline and leaving two households with less than 20 metres of clearance between their houses and the rising seawater.

Members of the households are currently working together to construct geobag barriers filled with sand to stall the erosion.

They received aid from the government yesterday to help with the installation of the sandbags.

Of the two households, one had his storehouse collapsed last month, suffering a loss of over $100,000.

The homeowner told The Brunei Times that he will continue to preserve the barriers to save his remaining property, though he had already spent a lot on making the geobag barriers.

Hj Yunos Hj Yacob currently has 25 rolls of the geobags in stock, with a roll costing approximately $4,800. A geobag filled with sand, he said, can last for about a year or two, if no leakage occurs.

He said the precautionary measures were a necessity despite its high cost, adding that they are still waiting for the government to take appropriate measures.

“If I waited for them without doing anything, I may have already lost my house. I am (doing my part) to give them time... and this may also ease their job should they decide on what to do,” he said.

Hj Yunos went on to say that he was not prepared to move out of his house as he has already invested a lot into it.

“There are also around 20 members within my household. We have to consider whether or not the shelter provided could accommodate all of us,” he said.

The coastal erosion, he explained, had been going on since 2008.

At the time the distance between the water and his house was roughly 500m. This allowed him to build a storehouse and a ranch in the area.

“Those things are now gone, washed up as the tides gradually reached our house,” he said.

“But at the very least, this event can be an eye-opener to others. So they may see the risks of having homes near the shores. I hope the government will continue to monitor the situation and do something, not just for me, but for others who may be affected by the same situation,” he added.

His neighbour, who requested to be known as Abdul, also reached out to the government for help in protecting the welfare of his home.

Abdul moved into the area about three years ago.

He said he decided to build the house as there was some 250m of distance between his house and the coastline.

Abdul lauded Hj Yunos’ self initiative in installing the geobags but he also expressed hopes that the government would hasten and continue the building of rock barriers to provide cover and protection for the housing areas.

According to Abdul, the government was building rock barriers but the project was stalled for unknown reasons.

The Brunei Times