MIRI: Mulu National Park manager Alison Pritchard and staff recently delivered much needed supplies to the Penan community of Long Iman after the Dec 29 flood.
This was the worst flood in history for the area as the water rose in three consecutive waves, causing a raging Tutoh River to engulf their homes within 30 minutes. With little time to evacuate and with many families away for the holidays, most of their possessions were washed away or destroyed.
The families fled to higher ground at a nearby hill and returned when the river subsided early in the morning.
Through fund-raising efforts and donation from the community as well as explorers and researchers from across the globe, Mulu National Park was able to purchase food and kitchen equipment, provide clothing and encouraged volunteers to help with the clean-up, but Long Iman still needs more help to get back on track.
It seems that the communities downstream were more heavily impacted and thankfully, the national park survived without any damage as park tours resumed when water subsided the following day.
After seeing Long Iman first hand, I realise the scale of work involved to get this community back on track, but with an army of passionate volunteers we can rebuild and reinforce the river bank (which was washed away), remove the debris, and restore and paint the church.
Thankfully the bricks and mortar can be replaced and everyone reached higher ground in time to avoid the rising water, said Allison.
Borsarmulu Park Management Sdn Bhd has opened the doors of the research centre to universities and corporate groups who would like help tidy up and rebuild, while musicians from Miri Country Music Festival are raising funds to replace the lost instruments in the church.
For details on how to help track their progress or send support, visit Facebook group – I CARE, supporting flood affected families of Mulu, Sarawak or email via the parks website www.mulupark.com.