Wednesday, June 29, 2022

After 6 months, Hulu Langat folk still haunted by flood memories

Some continue to suffer their losses even today.

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Six months after the massive floods which hit Hulu Langat in Selangor late last year, things appear to be back to normal, with businesses reopened and residents going about their daily affairs once more.

But here and there, traces of the floods remain as daily reminders of the disaster which caught the country off-guard and resulted in huge losses throughout the state.

Water marks can still be seen on the walls of homes which were completely submerged in water, and some houses remain in bad shape despite months-long repair efforts.

Mohd Riffin Arsat, from Batu 15, Dusun Tua, recalls having to move his family from their home of 31 years after the house was almost totally destroyed by the raging currents.

Mohd Riffin Arsat at the bus stop where he and his family camped for days after fleeing their flood-hit home.

He and his son fled the fast-rising waters in the middle of the night, leaving behind everything they owned.

“I went back the next day but everything was covered in mud and destroyed,” Riffin said.

“We were left with only the clothes we had on our backs.”

The house itself still stood – but barely. Built of wood, it suffered badly from the onslaught of the flood which left it leaning to one side and no longer safe to live in.

His family was forced to spend three nights at a nearby bus stop while he thought of what to do next.

A wooden house in Kampung Dusun Tua stands empty and in shambles, abandoned after the floods which hit the area six months ago.

He was relieved and grateful when donations of food and clothing were given by members of the public.

“There were also NGOs which gave us money, and the Malaysian Consultative Council for Islamic Organisation came to see us a few times to give us essential items,” he said.

Today, he lives in Nanding, Hulu Langat with his son who works as a deliveryman. Their old home was razed to the ground by the landlord due to safety concerns.

Near the site where the house used to stand, two other homes made of wood remain but in terrible condition. Their occupants are said to have moved out.

Hassan Ibrahim, another resident of Dusun Tua, said he was still haunted by the floods.

Hassan Ibrahim’s house was nearly destroyed by the floods which slammed into his village last December.

Each time it rains, he tosses and turns in bed, worrying about whether the water level will rise again and if he will have to leave his house for higher ground.

His fears are compounded by the fact that he lives right next to Sungai Langat. He also has mobility problems as he lost his right leg in an accident seven years ago.

“My wife and I have lived here for more than 40 years,” he said.

“That was the worst flood we ever experienced, even worse than the one that hit in 1971.”

His house was badly damaged in the December floods, which left only the living room untouched.

While he managed to get it repaired with the charity assistance he received, he estimates his losses at about RM100,000.

Hassan Ibrahim, who lost his leg in an accident some years ago, worries about what he will do if another flood hits his village.

Now, every time it rains, his heart sinks.

While Hassan and his wife have lived for decades in their small house, they hope to move to a new location where flooding is not a problem.

The problem is affordability.

“We don’t have the money to buy a new house,” he said. “What can we do? Just continue to live here and pray that we will be safe.”

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