Bakun Hydro Coffer Dam in Great Danger of collapsing

BELAGA, (10 May 2002): The on-going construction of cofferdam of the Bakun
Hydroelectricity Dam Project is in great danger of collapsing as the flood
continuing in the area. The 3-River Diversion Tunnels are too small for
the flow of sudden increase in water volume from Balui River. The strong
water current is overflowing and part of the cofferdam had collapsed. This
triggered panicky to the people living below the Dam. There could also some
logs (timbers) stacked inside the tunnels that caused blockages.

Over the last few days, it has been raining in Belaga District and most of
the areas are hit by flood. In Belaga town, some areas around the town are
under water. Belaga town is about 37 kilometres down stream of the Bakun
dam. As the river water continue to risen up to a dangerous level the
peoples in the town is getting panic as the whole cofferdam could break at

As precaution, the people are in the process of self-evacuating their
houses. Hundreds of people have moving up to higher ground, especially
along the Bukit Gayong Road to make temporary camps. The schools (SMK
Belaga and SK Abun Matu) have been closed. Their parents were called to
fetch their children to bring them back to their longhouses.

Last year, the Malaysian government contracted the construction of the
cofferdam to the Global Uphill Sdn. Bhd, a subsidiaries company of Ekran
Berhad. Since the construction started there have been a number of times
that the cofferdam had collapsed whenever the Balui River soared.