Coping with a disaster


The disaster zone is cordoned off. Vehicles are still trapped in the rubble. —Photos: M. AZHAR ARIF/The Star

THE 65 families affected by landslide in Taman Idaman, Serendah, are receiving counselling from officers from the Welfare Department to cope with the trauma following the incident.

Six counsellors from Pusat Perkembangan Kemahiran Kebangsaan Serendah have been stationed at Sekolah Rendah Agama Serendah from 8am to 5pm daily to counsel the victims.

Their homes are at risk of collapsing following the landslide on Saturday and are temporarily staying at nearby schools.

Mohd Radzi Mansor, 30, is one of the counsellors placed at the relief centre.

He said the main objective was to reassure the victims that their problems and fears were heard.

“We are gathering information on the type of worry or concerns raised by the victims.

“We would then send help based on the severity of their trauma.

“We want the victims to know they are not neglected,” he said.

Just three months ago Sukaimi Aris, 60, bought his house for over RM160,000.

Sukaimi (left) speaking to Mohd Radzi. Sukaimi is worried that he will never be able to move back to his house
Sukaimi (left) speaking to Mohd Radzi. Sukaimi is worried that he will never be able to move back to his house

Now his house is marked under the danger zone following the landslide.

He consoles himself that both he and his wife are alive.

“My greatest fear is that I will never be able to return and live in my house,” he said, expressing concern that his possessions would be looted.

Mohd Radzi said prior to the incident, people would usually hang out at a restaurant in the neighbourhood after their night prayer.

However, on the night of the incident the shop was closed early due to brisk sales.

“Surprisingly the food at the restaurant ran out because the business was good on that night.

Rosmah with her five cats. She and her cats are at the relocation centre at Sekolah Rendah Agama Serendah.
Rosmah with her five cats. She and her cats are at the relocation centre at Sekolah Rendah Agama Serendah.

“The shop was closed early and I am glad that happened.

Otherwise there would have been more casualties,” he said.

When the disaster struck and people scrambled to save their lives, Rosmah Mohamad, 50, rescued all her five cats because their lives were just as important as hers, she said.

She was among the 65 families affected by the landslide.

When StarMetro visited the relocation area for the victims, Rosmah was seen bringing food for her cats.

The cats stay outside the hall in clean cages.

“They also have lives and I cannot think of leaving them behind.

Muhd Adam (left) wishes to return home soon or he may look for another place to rent. He finds it uncomfortable to live with many other families.
Muhd Adam (left) wishes to return home soon or he may look for another place to rent. He finds it uncomfortable to live with many other families.

“My children are in university and I am attached to these cats,” said Rosmah, who borrowed her neighbours’ old cat cages to rescue the cats.

She bought her house in 2003 for RM80,000. Her greatest fear is she may never be able to move back to her house.

Rosmah said she hoped the authorities would carry out thorough inspection and do all necessary checks.

She said if the houses were demolished due to safety reasons, the units should be rebuilt in the same size elsewhere.

“We will move back only if the houses are safe.

“I will not object if the house needs to be demolished but we hope we can get a house of the same size and not a flat,” she said.

She added that prior to the incident, just a week ago, a lamp post in the affected area was seen slanting.

“Over the course of a day, the lamp post further tilted and just before I could complain, the whole spot collapsed,” she said.

Muhammad Fareez Hanudin, 21, is now more “famous” than he could have imagined.

He was the only victim who was “swallowed” by the landslide incident and was quickly pulled out from the rubble by his neighbours.

He was riding his motorcycle back home from work when the incident occurred.

Since his rescue, he has been interviewed by various media.

His only worry now is he no longer has a motorcycle to go to work nor does he have a mobile phone.

The collapsed slope which caused 65 families to move out of their homes.
The collapsed slope which caused 65 families to move out of their homes.

He lost all his small yet meaningful possession in the landslide but was thankful to be alive.

“I started work in January and I saved up money to buy my second-hand bike.

“Now it is gone and I am not sure how to get to work now.

“My spectacles costs me RM500 and I lost it too,” said the gym instructor.

He said the media attention was overwhelming but he was glad to be alive to tell the story.

“There were claims that I was killed in the incident.

“I wish people will stop making up their own story.

“I am alive and well,” said Muhammad Fareez who escaped with minor injuries on his legs and hands.

Most of the children kept themselves occupied by playing board games or by reading.

Youngsters keeping themselves occupied with board games. Fatin Nurliyana Redzwan (white scarf), 18, and Fitrah playing a board game with their peers at the at relocation centre.
Youngsters keeping themselves occupied with board games. Fatin Nurliyana Redzwan (white scarf), 18, and Fitrah playing a board game with their peers at the at relocation centre.

Fitrah Nurjannah Fuat, 18, said she was worried that her house would be demolished and that she would have to move to a People’s Housing Scheme Flat (PPR).

“The PPR flat is small and I do not think my entire family with five siblings can live comfortably there.

“I am just worried about my family’s fate,” she said.

Another victim, Muhd Adam Anand, said he wished to return home soon, failing which he would just find another place to rent.

He finds it uncomfortable to stay with so many families under one roof at the temporary relief centre.

“I have three young children and my in-laws too.

“It is getting a little uncomfortable to stay with many others as we need our space and privacy too,” said Muhd Adam.

When StarMetro contacted SlopeWatch programme director Eriko Motoyama, she said in most cases there would be some signs before a landslide took place.

She hoped authorities would do the necessary awareness programmes to educate the public on what to do during a landslide.

“I feel people need to be educated to look out for the signs before disaster hits,” she said.

She also urged for better maintenance culture at the hillslope or other high-risks areas.

“Those who own land at hillslopes should carry out regular inspection to prevent a disaster from taking place,” she said.

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