Floods: Victims hope situation to improve soon

KUANTAN – After spending 10 hours on the roof beam of her house, student Nur Aleeya Maisarah Mansor considers herself lucky to have survived the floods that inundated her home yesterday.

Relating her experience, she said she had not expected to face such a situation although her house had been flooded previously.

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“Usually, although the area is prone to floods, the water would not rise to the front of the house, only to the road beside the house. We did not expect such a big flood to happen. For the first time ever, the water nearly reached the roof,” she said when contacted by Bernama today.

According to her, the floodwaters had risen so fast that her house in Kampung Ajai, Dong, Raub, which was under renovation, began to be flooded at noon.

“By 2 pm, the water level had exceeded the hip, and we decided to climb onto the scaffolding used for the renovation…we climbed up using the ladder.

“The situation worsened by 5 pm, as the water had engulfed the staging, so we had to climb higher to the roof beam of the house.

“We did not have anything to eat since the morning, only some candy I had in my bag,” said the single child.

Due to swift currents, Nur Aleeya Maisarah said she, her father Mansor Omar, 50, and mother Ayusyeila Zulaikha Subari, 44, were only evacuated by rescue personnel at 2.56 am before being placed at the evacuation centre at Dewan Serbaguna Kampung Pia.

“The security team tried repeatedly to save us but due to the heavy currents they were afraid the boat would overturn. But I am grateful that they finally managed to save us and I would like to thank everyone who sought help for us,” she said.

Although they were saved, the family lost nearly all their possessions, including their car, clothes and electric appliances.

“We couldn’t save anything, not books or even clothes… I hope the situation will improve soon,” she added.

Raub district recorded 1,616 evacuees from 459 families at 46 relief centres as of 4 pm today.

Power of social media

The power of social media meanwhile has helped rescue flood victims trapped in their homes and isolated from neighbours.

A resident of Kampung Ajai, Dong in Raub, about 161 kilometres from here, Mansor Omar, 50, said he was informed that a picture of his wife and daughter sitting on a roof beam on Facebook made it possible for them to be found by the Fire and Rescue Department.

He took the picture and sent to relatives to inform that the water in the house at that time had almost reached the roof and to show that they were waiting for the rescue boat since the house started flooding noon yesterday.

“I did not expect the picture to go viral on Facebook with the caption that we were still waiting for help. In my heart I was worried that no one would come because my house was quite far and from outside, no one would know we were inside due to very dark conditions.

“Around 3 am, I heard the sound of a boat approaching the door of the house and immediately shouted and turned on the smartphone lights to tell where we were. I just could not describe how grateful we were,” he said when contacted here today.

Mansor who is self-employed said they were trapped due to the rising water, while based on past experience, the floods had never entered the house since he had lived there for 19 years.

The power of social media also made it possible for him to be contacted by the authorities who informed them that they were waiting for a bigger boat because attempts to get to his house using a small boat were unsuccessful due to strong currents.

“My heart was pounding the whole time, worried about the safety of family members because in such a situation the presence of poisonous animals was not visible. The fear I had made me lose appetite,” he said.

Another flood victim, Nor Azah Muhammad @ Aziz, 48, from Kampung Sungai La, Raub said her plea for evacuation assistance was shared on social media by her stepson in Kuantan, after noticing the situation was getting dangerous and they were already waiting for help too long.

Nor Azah said at that time, she was stranded with her husband and three children and although they had initially planned to leave when floodwaters started entering the house in the afternoon, that changed when she saw that the current was too strong and the water had risen quickly.

“The water in the house started to recede around 2 am, but we did not dare to take the risk because it was dark outside and we could not gauge the water level. Finally, at 5 am, we heard someone holler for us,” she said.

Increased number of evacuees

The number of people affected by floods in Pahang, Perak, Selangor and Terengganu continued to rise as of this evening, even as Johor’s number decreased slightly. Meanwhile, there was very little change in the flood situation in Kelantan.

In Pahang, the number of evacuees rose to 13,626 people at 200 relief centres in nine districts, with Maran recording the highest at 3,926.

This was followed by Kuantan district with 3,314 evacuees; Raub (1,688); Jerantut (1,458); Lipis (1,122); Temerloh (900); Rompin (772); Bentong (253) and Pekan (193).

Meanwhile, ANIH Berhad announced in a statement that as of 5 pm, the stretch of road from KM84.6-KM84.7 Lanchang of the East Coast Expressway Phase 1 (LPT1) was still closed to all vehicles after being submerged in one metre of waters.

In Perak, the number of flood evacuees exceeded 1,000 people compared to 894 people at noon today. All evacuees are currently housed at 14 relief centres in four districts, Muallim, Hilir Perak, Kampar and Kuala Kangsar.

The same situation was recorded in Selangor, with two centres in Bestari Jaya and Hulu Bernam opening as the total number of evacuees increased to 174 people, said Selangor disaster management unit operations officer Muhammad Izzat Haziq Mohd Nazir.

In Terengganu, the number of evacuees rose to 1,044 as the victims in Kemaman increased to 844 people with the opening of another three relief centres. This brings the total number of relief centres in operation to seven in the district. In Dungun, 200 people remain at three relief centres.

State disaster management committee secretariat chief Lt Col (PA) Che Adam A Rahman said three new centres have begun operations in Kemaman, namely Surau Haji Othman, Masjid Tebak Batu 16 and Dewan Orang Ramai Felda Seberang Tayor.

The number of flood victims in Johor, meanwhile, dropped to 6,244 people, compared to 6,991 people at noon today following the closure of 10 relief centres in flood-affected districts.

State Health and Environment Committee chairman R. Vidyananthan said Kota Tinggi district now had the most number of evacuees with 2,661 people, followed by Kluang with 2,123 people and Kulai with 585 people.

He said several roads were still closed including Jalan Kota Tinggi-Mersing (Kubu), Jalan Kota Tinggi-Mersing (Batu 16), Jalan Kota Tinggi-Mersing (Risda), Jalan Kota Tinggi-Kluang (Mara arcade), Jalan Lok Heng/Mawai/Sungai Mas (Jambatan Sungai Semalok), Jalan Tai Hong, Jalan Tai Hong (kampung house), Jalan Tun Sri Lanang, Jalan Semanggar (bridge), Jalan Mawai Lama and Jalan Sungai Telor.

In Kelantan, there was no change in the number of evacuees in Gua Musang, with 322 people housed in three relief centres.