Friday, November 20, 2009

Danger not over, any action may trigger another landslide

" ARchiteCTURE for LIFE "

Friday November 20, 2009 (StarMetro)

Reports by Geetha Krishnan, Bavani M and Fazleena Aziz


PARTS of the newly built 50m retaining wall behind the Cheras Awana flats continued to collapse after the landslide on Wednesday left a few vehicles flattened.

At press time on Thursday, the three crushed cars and a motorcycle were still at the disaster site. The wall built at the bottom of the 7m-high slope continued to lean at a precarious angle while plastic sheets were placed to prevent the soil from eroding further.

MPKj corporate communications head Shariman Mohd Nor said the council was waiting for approval from the Public Works Depart­ment (PWD) slope management divi­sion to remove the damaged vehicles.

Destroyed: One of the vehicles damaged by the landslide.

“It is feared that moving the vehicles could cause another landslide. The wall was built two months ago after two previous soil erosion incidents,” he told reporters.

Flat dwellers and curious onlookers reported hearing creaking noises from the damaged vehicles, indicating there was still some soil movement on the 24 degree slope.

In the 2.30pm incident on Wednesday, the vehicles parked in the backlane were destroyed due to the impact of the falling wall. It prompted Kajang OCPD Asst Comm Sakaruddin Che Mood to issue an evacuation order for 10 families occupying the ground floor.

B. Ravindran, 42, whose two cars were damaged, said he had a sleepless night.

“I did not move to the Cheras Permai community hall offered by the council because I wanted to ensure the safety of my belongings. I have been living here for several years,” said the father of two.

Unstable: Soil movement is still being detected at the site behind the Cheras Awana flats where several vehicles were crushed by the impact of the retaining wall.

“I am at my wits end thinking of a solution as both our means of transport have been destroyed. The insurance company won’t compensate me because this comes under natural disaster,” he said.

Councillor Ng Thien Chee said the stopgap measure being considered by the council was to level the land and convert it into a playground.

“MPKj’s engineering department has learnt that a developer in the area needs soil for a project. Perhaps the soil can be taken from here and the slope levelled so that no incidents will occur in the future,” he added.

Hulu Langat MP Dr Che Rosli Che Mat said the council should continue to monitor hillslopes during heavy rainfall.

“I was told this wall is newly built but the wire cages were built without posts. This could be one reason why the wall was weak and couldn’t withstand the impact of sudden soil movement,” he said.

A representative from the International Research Centre on Disaster Prevention said the team was there to take soil samples and study the rainfall data.

Asked about the possible cause, he said underground water, soil softening and the lack of water outlets could be reasons for the incident.

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