JERTEH: Sorrowful and heart-rending.
That was the feeling when witnessing the latest situation in Kampung La, here after it was inundated by floodwater since six days ago.
For one family, the disaster not only swept away their clothes, but their house, which they had been occupying since a year ago, had also disappeared to god knows where.
More pathetically, the whereabouts of the home of the family of six could not be traced and the owners could only watch as one by one of their household items such as their refrigerator and washing machine being swept away during the flood.
On the second day of the flood, Suriati Mohd Yusof, 35, saw the zinc roof and floor boards of her house stuck on the fence of Sekolah Kebangsaan Kampung La which was 200 metres away from the original site of her house.
Members of her family, herself and some villagers then lugged the roof, wood and planks back to the initial site by wading across the flood and aspiring to put them back together but the heavy rain eventually put paid to the idea as it caused the water to rise further and sweeping away what they had retrieved.
‘’On the first day of the incident, the flood occurred at 10am and water entered the house exceedingly fast. We fled for our lives with only the clothes on our backs to the nearby school.
‘’The water was too fast, darkness fell quickly and the rain poured...we waded through chest-deep water to reach the school, forgetting about our house which had been swept away, only the thought of saving our lives was all that mattered at that time,’’ said Suriati who wore a pulicat sarong given to her by a kampung resident as that was the only thing available since the whole village was afflicted by the same disaster.
During the incident, Suriati’s husband, Hardi Mazda, 55, a lorry driver, was in Kuala Lumpur. Suriati was staying in the house with their three children, namely, Adam Danish, 14; Nur Syalina Hartini, 12 and Aliya Danisha, 7, Suriati’s sister, Nur Azila,19 and her friend, Siti Nur Fazlida Mohd Asri, 22.
Kampung La, located 30 km from Jerteh town, was the area worst-hit by the floods this time cutting off the village for almost three days from outside world when the sole access road was under three metres of flood water.
No vehicle could enter the village. In fact, a Besut district office lorry was submerged under flood water and abandoned when trying to deliver supply to the residents.
Several mercy flights were performed by the Gong Kedak-based Royal Malaysian Air Force (TUDM) to airlift patients such as pregnant women and handicapped children for treatment at the Besut Hospital in Jerteh.
A Bernama survey at the village late yesterday evening found numerous marks of destructions which had taken place such as swept away stalls, unhinged house doors, structural damages to the houses of residents, damaged tarred roads including Suriati’s house which was swept away.
Currently, Suriati, who only had RM15 in cash, was forced to put up at another villager’s house while waiting for her husband to arrive home to build a new house on an inherited family land a bit further from the original site of the house which had been swept away.
Actually, Suriati was building a house adjacent to the one which had been swept away but work was abandoned due to financial constraints. To date, the walls of the house had been completed at a cost of RM18,000.
Meanwhile, Kampung La Village Community Management Council (MPKK) chairman Abdul Razak Laboh said the government must provide a new emplacement for the residents as it was the only choice available to them.
‘’Until when should we live like this? Every year, we are forced to face the same problem. This is not a problem which has occurred once or twice but has dragged on since 60 years ago.
‘’We were offered a new location but it was on the fringe of the jungle. We want the government to provide a new site which already has public amenities such as mosque, school and clinic but our appeals were ignored all these while,’’ said Abdul Razak who was extremely disappointed with the situation. — Bernama