KUALA LUMPUR, January 7 – The people of Taman Sri Nanding here have adopted an air of resignation and self-reliance in an effort to recover from the severe flooding that has swept the area, with some claiming that help from authorities has not been brought.
According to Harun Tahir, 70, who was born here, he and his wife had to do most of the cleaning work themselves.
When he met him while cleaning his porch, Harun said all their belongings were either damaged or destroyed, and that they were sleeping on a makeshift bed in the house which was still only 75 percent clean.
Asked what was needed to prevent a repeat of the flooding here, an exasperated Harun said nothing would be done if it was left to politicians and authorities.
“Too much bureaucracy when it comes to doing anything. Plus, the ever-changing government officials and leaders create so much chaos. Nothing can be done right.
“At the end of the day, who is working? We need someone to prioritize building larger drains, repairing the existing clogged drainage system, proper irrigation, etc. Why can’t we just have a big project – a long term project – where we build a water catchment area or something for that purpose to mitigate the flooding? ” he said.
According to Harun, flooding has become commonplace in the region and could reach up to six times a year.
However, no recent memory has been as bad as the flood that swept through the region in late December.
“Now it got worse because it’s so muddy. I’m talking about mud cakes, not dust flakes. When they brought in the pumps to suck up the water, they also encountered some difficulty as the terrain here is hilly. drainage, where is the water going to drain?
“I’ll be honest with you, it’s been tough. Anytime it rains for several hours or gets strong, everyone here panics. I think I can’t take it anymore.”
Harun speculated that the mud could come from the construction of the Cheras-Ampang highway, claiming that there could be erosion in the hilly area which caused mud and silt to enter the courtyards. water.
The last time there was severe flooding here, Harun said a lawmaker came and gave him RM350.
This time, however, Harun wondered if it might not have been better to collect the 350 RM each for the 2,500 households here and devote the entire amount to improving drainage in the area.
Disagreeing with some views that frequent changes in the federal government were an obstacle to good flood mitigation work, Harun said there were enough agencies and departments to ensure the continuity of ‘such an effort.
What was not there, Harun said, was the political will or desire to implement projects that would truly benefit ordinary Malaysians.
During a visit to the region, Malaysian courier met resident Syed Norzain Syed Mohd Yusof, 56, and his friend Abdul Latif, 54, who came from Pahang to help with the cleanup.
Abdul has helped flood victims here by repairing electrical appliances free of charge. So far, he has already repaired around 30 fans, more than 10 refrigerators and several washing machines and televisions.
He said he first came down to help relatives whose homes had been badly damaged by the flooding, but felt obligated to help others.
The pair agreed that too many politicians were obsessed with appearing concerned about flood victims, but in fact did not help or even visit.
Abdul said he was very happy to see Warisan Party Chairman Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal coming from Sabah to help those affected.
“He came, went from house to house and gave us money. He wore boots, got wet and dirty, and walked these streets to meet and greet every household and help us at the same time.
“We saw other deputies and ministers who came to meet their friends only, did their photoshoot or whatever and left. With a large entourage anyway,” he said with a dry laugh.
“Other bigwigs came with their big processions, doing a big deal, but they visited places that are not that dirty, places that were already clean, and then left.
“So putting them aside, I hope that those affected by these floods will receive more financial assistance and I want everyone to receive an equal amount, regardless of race and religion,” he said. he declares.
While Abdul spoke more of the recovery, Syed was still shaken by the chaos of the Flood and the days that immediately followed.
With latent anger, he said authorities were caught off guard and sometimes acted unreasonably, including demanding proof of identity from residents trying to return home to pick up the pieces.
“How was that possible? People here have scars now. They cannot sleep at night, fearing that the water level in them will rise while they sleep. “
Compared to a visit more than two weeks ago, Malaysian courier found the area cleaner and traffic lighter. Garbage collection still appeared spotty as piles of uncollected garbage, although less numerous now, could still be seen in the area.
Mud remained virtually everywhere, marring the brown streets and making the air heavy with the unpleasant smell of decay, which some residents said was especially strong on hot days.
Standing in the smelly air while cleaning their house, Amir Hamzah, Mohd Hafiz and Mohd Ashwath recounted Malaysian courier the entire structure was damaged by flood waters.
They said they stripped the house and their car to see if anything was salvageable.
“It’s been 24 hours and we still don’t know if it’s going to start,” Hafiz said, looking at the vehicle resignedly.
According to Amir, there have been theories as to why the floods in late December were so devastating, such as overflows in six rain catchment areas upstream.
When asked who was to blame, a frustrated emir replied that he couldn’t tell.
“All I know is we help each other out here. All races, groups and NGOs. We realize we have to look out for each other. The problem for me now is that I rent this place. with the idea of finally buying it.
“I’m going to have to rethink this now,” he said.
When approached, few residents were willing to express their views on the level and pace of government assistance.
While some seemed to bite the bullet, most chose to keep their thoughts to themselves and took care of cleaning up more or helping out a friend or neighbor in need.
“It was such a relief when I saw NGOs, local authorities from different states and their leaders come to help us,” said Mohd Syawal Rizal, owner of the workshop.
“It was disappointing to see the late arrival of help. Instead, I saw the authorities suddenly start to work hard when they heard of the Prime Minister’s arrival,” he said. added.
“They were from Kedah, the east coast, even Muar. The point is, we need the money. Look at my car,” Syawal said, pointing to a vehicle so covered in mud and grass that it was. difficult to discern the make or model.
“The warranty says it will cost around RM40,000 to repair the car as it is under warranty and to keep the warranty I have to use original spare parts.
“Other cars without warranty will cost around RM4,000-8,000. However, not all mechanics will take the deal. It’s too much work, too tedious,” said Syawal.
Overall, there was still a lot of work to be done to get the people of Taman Sri Nanding back to normal and the cleanup could take months.
Putrajaya and the state government have agreed to provide financial assistance to flood victims starting this month.
Although none of the people interviewed today have received this help yet, most expressed the hope that it would come sooner rather than later, but all agreed that nothing would be enough.