IPOH: SAFRAH Ahmad, 63, of Kampung Tanjung Bugis, Kerian, looks up to the sky whenever it rains, praying that she will be spared from floods.
Flash floods, a regular occurrence over the past 30 years, have worsened, with waters sometimes rising chest-high in her village.
Safrah said every year during the rainy season, the Kerian district would be one of the worst flood-hit areas.
“It is normal to see villages and low-lying areas inundated, and residents evacuated from homes. But, how long do we have to live with this?
“Up till March, I have been evacuated twice to temporary shelters. The first time was in January when the water level was chest-high. And, now, this is the second time in three months.
“My house is in a low-lying area. If it rains continuously for three hours, I know I have to move my belongings to higher ground and prepare to evacuate,” said the mother of six.
So, she is elated to learn that the authorities are addressing the issue, with the Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID) announcing the Sungai Perak Integrated River Basin (Phase 1) project.
“I hope this project will benefit the residents here.
“It is a daunting task, cleaning up the house and assessing damaged electrical appliances whenever flash floods hit,” she said at the relief centre in the Kampung Alor Setanggok community hall recently.
Sharing the sentiment is Faridah Amri, 47, who describes floods as nothing new.
“I even built a sampan as a mode of transport during floods. The water level will rise drastically.
“Once, I couldn’t salvage any of my belongings.
“I am happy that the state DID is taking steps to resolve this problem. We can’t live like this any more,” said the mother of four. “We do not want to go through evacuations and flood clean-ups any more.”
Rizalman Kasim, 41, who has been living in the village for 15 years, said: “Nothing can be done when floods inundate our homes.
“Once, I was sleeping and felt like I was floating.
“I thought I was dreaming. I woke up and found my home inundated by floodwaters.
“Floods hit the village four to five times a year.
“I do not evacuate to the flood relief centre because I need to take care of my bedridden father. He refuses to move,” said Rizalman, a farmer.
He said the frequent floods were caused by an overflowing Sungai Beruas and that there was only one water pump available to drain the water.
“This issue must be addressed. I am happy that the state DID will carry out flood mitigation projects to help villagers, especially those in low-lying areas.”