Bukit Merah may not look the same anymore. (Image: www.virtualmalaysia.com)
Bukit Merah, Perak, is a popular tourist area surrounded by beautiful greenery and a 7,000-acre freshwater lake—one of the largest in the country. Visitors can enjoy recreational activities such as taking a hike at the ecopark and rafting.
But El Nino has decided to pay the area an unpleasant visit. The Tasik Bukit Merah Dam water level has been dwindling because of the hot and dry weather, and the Perak Government may request the Federal Government to declare it a disaster zone if this continues.
According to Astro Awani, Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Zambry Abd Kadir clarified that a state of emergency would not mean that the area is closed down, but that the government will assess its losses and so forth, especially for affected farmers. Over 5,000 acres of paddy field are affected by the heat wave.
One of Bukit Merah’s highlights is the Orangutan Island, where visitors can see orangutan and learn more about them. Unfortunately, the island has been closed since April 11. Due to the now shallow waters of the Tasik Bukit Merah dam, boats can't travel to the island. The island staff are using a kayak to monitor the orangutan there, and the journey takes up to two hours. Chief Executive Operations of the island, Dr D. Sabathy, said that they had to send food and water to the 24 orangutan that live on the island.