AUTHORITIES have warned villagers and also travellers to stay away from coastal areas near the mouth of Sungai Perak due to the expected “king tide” phenomenon but some villagers in Kampung Batak Rabit are unfazed.
A king tide is an especially high tide that occurs only a few times a year.
During a visit to the village by MetroPerak, it appeared that some of them were not preparing for the impending tide as they went about their lives normally and some even took to the river to catch Udang Galah or giant freshwater prawn.
When asked why some people are not worried, Kampung Batak Rabit village Head Hazli Sleiman, 60, said even though Civil Defence Department issued a notice urging residents to safeguard their important documents and belongings, the villagers don’t want to shift their things yet.
“They said it happens all the time and are used to it. But the village is ready to face the tide, whether it’s called the king or queen.
“For years, they have lived with such conditions. If things do get worse, they will take belongings to higher spots in the house and if necessary, they will evacuate,” he said when contacted by Metro Perak.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim had earlier said that the high-tide phenomenon which came with big waves and strong winds on Sept 19 is expected to hit the west coast again from today to Oct 20.
Some coastal villagers are getting themselves prepared after the recent spate of flooding caused by the high-tide phenomenon on the west coast of the peninsula.
College student Muhd Ameen Arif Roslan, 18, who was back in Kampung Batak Rabit for the weekend, said he has experienced high tides before but after reading reports that another phenomenon is set to strike, his father and six siblings are prepared for any possibility.
“For us, documents are really important, so we have stored them in a safe place. Having lived here since birth, high tides are a common occurrence and we are used to them.
“The worst I’ve experienced was when the flood waters reached in my ankle. Now they say it might be higher, so we’re prepared for any possibility. God willing, nothing bad happens to our village,” he said.
Ambulance driver Ismail Wahid, 40, who was seen building wooden barricades near the river said the villagers need not worry, as there is a drainage system near their houses and the water will not flood the whole village.
“So many rumours are going around, but we are unfazed. We’ve experienced it and I expect it to be the same for the next few days. Barricades have been built every year and they have reduced the impact of the tides. Only houses near the river are affected, but even then, water doesn’t go inside the house.
“Even on Sept 19, no houses were badly damaged. We managed to clean the mess. Whatever the situation, we are prepared to face it,” said Ismail, who born in the village.
Fisherman Zamani Ramli, 48, whose house is near the river, said the village came under 0.5m to 1m of water on Sept 19, but he has been told to expect more than 1m of water this time.
“My house is high, so the water only reached the steps, but if the water overflows the bunds, some of the housing areas in the village will be affected.
“The drainage system in our village will lighten the impact, but people will have to clean their houses once the water has subsided.
“We are praying that it will be the usual high tide. We are used to those but if it’s extraordinary, then we will all have to work together to make sure the village is safe.”
Fisherman Mohd Jefri Hussin, who had been out on the river to catch freshwater prawn earlier in the day said,
“In the morning, the water reached our hut but this is normal.”
Mohd Jefri said some people have warned him that this week will be bad, but he said he will get on with his business.
“Let me be honest with you, high tides has been happening since I was in this village and I’m used to cleaning up the mess if it floods. What comes up, goes down eventually. We just have to clean up after.”
When asked if he is not worried about the safety of his family if conditions get worse, Mohd Jefri said they have lived beside the river for a very long time and jokingly said his family does not fear water.
Authorities fear the king tide this time around could be serious with big waves and strong winds, but the folks in Kampung Batak Rabit are prepared to face any possibility.
“If it hits us bad, we won’t be bothered by it. We will come back and do things that we love. Many people out there need udang galah.
“No tide will dampen our spirits,” said Mohd Jefri, as he and a friend, went out to the river to catch more udang galah.