KOTA KINABALU, July 6, 2015:

The earthquake that hit Sabah last June 5 has caused damages to infrastructure and public assets being assessed at RM94.8 million, said Sabah Special Functions Minister Datuk Teo Chee Kang.

He told the state legislative assembly sitting here today the assessment was based on a report received from the state Public Works Department covering 61 damaged buildings, including mosques, schools, hospitals and Ranau police headquarters.

It also involved 22 roads (three federal and 19 state roads), one bridge and 22 slopes (three federal and 19 state slopes).

“All the damages are in the district affected by the earthquake, including Ranau and Kota Belud,” said Teo, who was representing Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman when replying to a question from Datuk Seri Wilfred M. Bumburing (PKR-Tamparuli).

“A total of 136 houses in Kota Belud and 268 houses in Ranau were also slightly or moderately damaged,” he said, adding that the government would fix an appropriate rate for aid according to the level of damage that was validated by the district officer.

The sitting was also told that, apart from the mountain guides, the state government was not able to coordinate the Kinabalu Operation to search and rescue the stranded climbers on Mount Kinabalu without continuous communication with a personnel of Sabah Parks who was also stranded following the earthquake.

Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun said Mithun J. Langgit became the state government’s strategy to obtain feedback on the situation faced by the climbers at the 4,095-metre summit.

“All kinds of allegations have been hurled against the rescue agencies following the failure of the rescue helicopter to land at the summit and provide food and warm clothing,” he said when replying to a supplementary question from Datuk Seri Lajim Ukin (PKR-Klias).

Hence, he said Mithun was the link to convey instructions to him and the stranded mountain guides to use their skills to bring the climbers down. He also clarified on the difficulties encountered by the rescue team while on the SAR operation, including the wind factor which posed an obstacle for the helicopter to land at 3,000-metre height despite making three attempts.

Subsequently food supplies and clothes thrown to the stranded victims could not be received as it fell 500 metres away from the targeted spot, he said.

The summit is free from fog between 6am to 7.30am but the SAR operation was deployed at 7.15am after the earthquake, measuring 5.9 on the Richter scale occurred, claiming 18 lives.

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