‘King tide’ tears down Sabah water village

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Another 38 stilt houses in east Malaysia state Sabah collapsed on Sunday night, taking the total to 108 houses destroyed, as the seaside water village of Kampung Forest faced the onslaught of the ‘king tide’ phenomenon.

More houses could be in danger of falling as the high tide phenomenon is expected to hit again.

Sandakan district police chief Fuad Malek said 70 houses had collapsed due to the phenomenon on Saturday night.

“The number of evacuees at a relief center also increased to 684 people,” he said on Monday, adding that no casualties were reported.

A king tide is known as an exceptionally high tide which occurs when orbital alignments of the earth, moon and sun combine to create a powerful tidal effect.

It is a normal phenomenon and happens once or twice a year in coastal areas, causing unusually high water levels and tidal flooding. Local wind and weather patterns can also affect its intensity.

A king tide can sometimes be at least 30cm above the average high tide level for the year. The highest tide ever was 16.34m tall, recorded at Burntcoat Head Park in Canada’s Bay of Fundy in 1975.

Kampung Forest, a water village of several hundred houses in Sabah, has faced the brunt of the phenomenon over the past few days.

With floods hitting other parts of Sabah, the number of evacuees in the state has increased to 1,626 people from 366 families as at 8am on Monday.

They were relocated to temporary relief shelters in Sandakan, Pitas, Kota Belud and Kota Kinabalu.

The state disaster relief management secretariat said among the victims, those in Pitas, Sandakan and Kota Kinabalu were coastal villagers affected by the king tides phenomenon since last Thursday.

“Sabah’s northern Pitas district has the highest number with 745 evacuees, followed by Sandakan (684) and Kota Kinabalu (54),” it said.

The secretariat added that some 143 victims in Kota Belud district were evacuated after their villages were flooded due to continuous heavy rain over the past few days.

The king tide phenomenon also destroyed or damaged a dozen houses at Tanjung Aru Baru in Kota Kinabalu on Dec 22 and on Christmas Eve.



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