TEMERLOH: Those who were born and bred here say that they have never seen anything like last month’s flood that hit their area.
G. Naganesan, 35, described Taman Bahagia and Taman Bahagia Baru, along with the rest of Temerloh, as “turning into an island” due to the swollen Sungai Pahang.
He was among those who braved neck-deep waters to deliver food to victims stranded in their homes.
He has also been coordinating with 4x4 groups and other volunteers since the floods inundated much of Temerloh after Christmas.
“The entire residential area became like a river, with water carrying with it furniture and even motorcycles,” he said.
“I was born here and I grew up here. We have never seen anything like this before,” said Naganesan, who works in a Mentakab bank.
With the help of his friends from other towns, he managed to gather enough supplies to distribute to the residents.
“Temerloh town has been without electricity since Dec 26,” he said.
“Some residents did not receive any supply during the first few days. Some had to travel all the way to Lanchang – about 30km away – just to buy milk for their babies,” said Naganesan.
Looking back, he said he learnt a lot from the tragedy.
“When we first received aid, we just gave it away.
“However, some residents got something, while others did not,” he said.
“Quarrels broke out among the affected residents as they jostled to grab for the essential items.”
It was then that Naganesan and his friends decided that these items needed to be repacked before being handed out.
“It ensured that no family was left out,” he added.
The ugly side of the people surfaced when aid workers delivered relief supplies.
“We sent rice, eggs, instant noodles and sardines but they asked for soap, shampoo, toothbrushes and even cigarettes!
“We did go back with soap and candles but we did not buy shampoo and cigarettes,” he said, adding that other than greed, some only shared excess supplies with people of their own race.
Others were picky, taking only clothing which were “nice” and rejecting others, said Naganesan.
He said those living in bungalows fled to higher grounds.
“Some left their maids and pets behind,” he added.
Areas around Mentakab are already accessible, except for Batu Kapur, which is near Sungai Semantan.
“Water level in Sungai Pahang is still high, affecting areas from Temerloh to Teriang,” said Naganesan.
“Usually, it is only areas like Lanchang and Karak that get flooded, but this time, these areas were not affected.”