KUALA KRAI: The scars of last year’s devastation are everywhere. Houses are still caked with mud, shops stay closed – just as they were almost a year ago – and some damaged homes lie abandoned. The floods last year were very harsh on the people here.
The victims cannot bear to imagine what would happen if floodwaters were to rise once more as the monsoon season lashes the east coast again.
Md Nawi Hadi, 50, whose restaurant was under 12 feet of water last December, said he could not bear to even think about flood preparations.
“We have left it to Allah. We cannot think about it and have to accept fate,” said the owner of Kedai Makan Nawi along Jalan Guchil 1.
He said the devastation was worse than a fire he experienced before, adding that his family lost their clothes and everything in the restaurant was swept away.
He remembered having to eat only fried noodles with soy sauce.
“We had money but nowhere to buy provisions,” he said.
Md Nawi said his shop floor was one foot high in mud when the floodwaters receded and it took over a month to resume business.
Chiem Peng Ling said the floods were the worst they had ever experienced.
The 64-year-old hardware store owner said his premises – where he also stayed with his family – had been under 15 feet of water.
Chiem said there was no place to move his goods should the floods happen again.
He pointed to a bucket of rusted nails, bolts and screws – all the result of last year’s disaster.
“The best I can do is sell these items as scrap metal,” he sighed.
But at least he is back in business. Chiem said many shops in the area had not reopened since last year.
“Many of the owners are just waiting to see if the floods again happen this year,” he added.
Che Asmah Md Saad, 70, who sells dried seafood at the Kuala Krai market, had also given up trying to brace for the possibility of another flood.
“What’s there to prepare? I haven’t prepared anything,” she said, adding that floodwaters never used to get past the front steps in the old days.
Aminah Mohd Daud, who sells laksa at the market, believed last year’s floods were a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence.
“I don’t think it will happen again. I’m 45 and last year was the first time I saw such flooding,” she said.