Repairing thunderstorm damage could take months, says Lim Chu Kang nursery

Repairing thunderstorm damage could take months, says Lim Chu Kang nursery

Destruction caused by the recent thunderstorm could take months and cost S$50,000 to repair, said Koon Lee Nursery, one of the farms in Lim Chu Kang that were affected.  

SINGAPORE: Destruction caused by the recent thunderstorm could take months to repair, said Koon Lee Nursery, one of the farms in Lim Chu Kang that were affected.  

On Saturday (Mar 31), a day after heavy rain and strong gusts of wind hit the western part of Singapore, Koon Lee manager Mac Teo said recovery work could easily take two months and cost at least S$50,000. 

“I estimate that because most of my areas are damaged, we could be cleaning up for two months," said Mr Teo. 

"If we had to rebuild everything, it would be in the hundreds of thousands. But I don’t think we’ll be able to do that because we’re required to move in January 2019 for the expansion of the airbase. 

"That's about a year away and we don’t want to spend on the repairs and then move out straight away. But we can’t not do repairs ... then we can’t carry on our operations, so it’s a bit of a dilemma for us. It’s a difficult time for us,” he added.

Mr Teo said Friday's storm was "like a scene from a Twister" movie.

“There was a lot of howling. All it took was 30 seconds of very strong wind to cause this." 

The Meteorological Service Singapore said the strongest wind gust it recorded on Friday was 133.3km/h at 3.50pm at nearby Tengah.

"This is the strongest wind gust recorded at our island-wide network of wind sensors since 2010," it said, adding that strongest-ever recorded wind gust was 144.4km/h in 1984 at the same location. 

During Channel NewsAsia's visit to Koon Lee, members of the nursery staff were busy with repair work on tentage that had completely collapsed.  

Mr Teo said the worker who was taken to hospital was still undergoing treatment for a head injury and broken finger. 

More than half of his team of 20 workers have been redirected to help with recovery, said Mr Teo. The nursery was still accepting walk-in customers at a section that was not affected by the storm, but it was still "difficult" as a large amount of stock remained stuck under the debris, he added.

Chew's Agriculture, which rears chickens for eggs and is located next to Koon Lee on Murai Farmway, was also badly damaged.   

The farm declined an interview, saying it was busy with "visits from authorities", but the damage was visible from Koon Lee - rows of chicken houses were completely flattened and there was still poultry trapped underneath the rubble.  

Chew's Agriculture thunderstorm 3
Some chickens at Chew's Agriculture were still trapped under the debris. (Photo: Cheryl Goh)

Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry and National Development Koh Poh Koon visited several of the affected farms together with the CEOs of Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) and the National Parks Board (NParks) on Saturday morning. 

In a Facebook post, he said he visited Chew's Agriculture, Williton Orchids, Koon Lee Nursery and Goh Swee Hoon fish farm, noting that Chew's "suffered the most extensive damage". 

"The owner assured me that they have business continuity measures in place and while this ‘act of God’ has brought challenges to them, he is glad to see that members of our farming community and government agencies are coming together to help them tide over this period," said Dr Koh. 

Dr Koh added he assured them that the relevant agencies would render assistance where needed.

"In the days ahead, our officers from Singapore Land Authority, Building and Construction Authority, AVA and NParks will continue to support affected farms in their clean-up and rebuilding efforts," he said. 

Source: CNA/zl

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