Tuaran villagers affected by bird flu outbreak hope to be justly compensated

Recqueal Raimi

TUARAN: Residents of several villages along Jalan Kauluan, here, are hoping they will be justly compensated after their poultry were culled to contain the bird flu oubreak in the district.

An observation by NSTP however found those living in the five kilometre surveillance radius from the two chicken farms in Kampung Kauluan - namely Kampung Tambulaong, Kampung Dang Sangai, Kampung Bukit Giling and Kampung Telibong - are satisfied after hearing the state government’s pledge of paying them.

Recently state Agriculture and Food Industry minister Junz Wong said data of villagers affected are being collected so they could receive the compensation.

Kampung Tambulaong villager Ester Juanis, 40, who previously has over 30 chickens and birds in her home vicinity, had to hand them over to the Veterinary Services Department.

“Playing with the birds has been our family’s leisure activity as they were very tame, while the chickens were our food source, especially when we make soup for pregnant ladies or those who are sick.

“But we gave cooperation to ensure no villagers will be at risk,” she said.

Ester who works in a saloon here, added that previously villagers using the road out to town were scanned by the Department, but now it has been stopped.

“We used to have to leave an hour early as there was a long queue of vehicles waiting to be inspected going in and out of Jalan Kauluan.

“It might be troublesome but for safety reasons we cooperated,” she added.

Another villager from Kampung Kauluan, Wainah Damai who works as a cook at Sekolah Kebangsaan (SK) Tambulaong canteen said the villages are now very quiet without the sound of roosters crowing in the morning.

“But there is no such music now,” she said when met.

The villagers are still exercising caution despite the stop of car checks.

“We are still careful with our food especially for me as a cook, we need to ensure a safe supply,” she said.

Tuaran district is expected to be declared free from the Avian Influenza outbreak within a month. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd