December 27, 1996 in Nation/World

Bodies Recovered After Flooding Death Toll From Borneo Storm Reaches 111, Expected To Rise

Associated Press

Pulling corpses from the branches of trees, searchers recovered bodies Thursday from the path of a tropical storm that brought deadly flooding to the west coast of Borneo.

The death toll reached 111 and was expected to climb, The New Straits Times reported in today’s editions.

Tropical Storm Greg blew in Wednesday night from the South China Sea, filling waterways to overflowing.

The flooded Pampang River washed away more than 50 houses in Keningau town, where most of the deaths occurred, said Maizan Shaari, police commissioner of Sabah state.

“I saw a person clinging to a log being swept along in the flood water and calling for help, but I could not do anything,” Capt. Mohamed Yazid Abdullah, a military recruiter visiting Keningau, told the Bernama news agency.

He retrieved the bodies of three women from trees, he said.

Billboards and debris were strewn throughout Kota Kinabalu, the capital of the Malaysian island’s Sabah state. Windows were broken in the 30-story building that houses government offices.

Chief Minister Yong Teck Lee, who flew over Kota Kinabalu this morning, said the storm was one of the worst disasters ever to hit the state.

“I also saw small boats and ships sunk in several places here, and many houses completely destroyed or minus their roofs,” Yong said.

Koro Malgi, an official in Pondok Laut, said the storm destroyed at least 50 houses in his village of 3,000 on Gaya Island off the coast of Sabah.

© Copyright 1996 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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