Flood survivors see all their years of hard work gone after the disaster

  • Focus
  • Saturday, 10 Jan 2015

HER prized possession is a picture of her late husband that hangs in the living room.

It is the only thing that she insisted on bringing along when escaping from the raging floodwaters in Kemaman, Terengganu recently.

This is among the countless touching stories on flood victims in the big flood that hit the east coast recently.

The story of this 80-year-old woman was related by her son who suffered about RM5mil in losses for his hardware business during the flood.

It seems their area had never seen such serious flooding before.

But he still counts himself lucky that he was there to help his mother during the evacuation.

It is the safety and wellbeing of loved ones that matter most at the end of the day.

The water has finally receded but the woes of the flood victims are far from over.

For instance, there were old people, including a stroke patient, who have to stay on at relief centres in Kelantan even though the evacuees were allowed to go home.

While little is known of their background, my guess is that they must have been fending for themselves all this while.

But there is no way they can, on their own, resume normal life after the flood.

They will likely end up in a welfare home if their children or relatives do not come to their aid.

In fact, people who still have a home to go back to after the flood are considered very blessed.

Never mind that it takes time and lots of energy to do the cleaning up when so many had turned homeless after surviving the flood.

There are many people who have to stay in tents now as their houses were either completely destroyed or washed away by floodwaters.

It is sad to read how families, like a 53-year-old security guard and his 13 children and 17 grandchildren are living in a tent.

They may have been living in poverty before the flood but they had a roof over their heads then.

How can they go back to their jobs, if they still have their jobs, and how can the children resume school when the new terms starts tomorrow?

I think the living conditions in the relief centres is better than in a tent.

Perhaps the authorities can provide some decent temporary lodgings for the homeless.

This kind of help must come from the authorities as they have the resources and means to do so.

On Monday, The Star reported on how people — small children, adults and the elderly — in Kuala Krai run out to get the items from trucks or lorries loaded with supplies.

A girl, about five years old, with a handful of biscuits and snacks handed a packet of crackers to my two colleagues with a smile.

She must be wondering why the duo did not go after the supplies and she did not hesitate to share what she has with strangers.

Her family, like many other families, have lost all their belongings in the flood.

She may be too young to worry about what lies ahead for her and her family.

My friend from Kelantan told me that there were many small traders who might not be able to start their business all over again after losing their goods in the flood.

“They do not have the resources or money to restart.

“The elderly ones in particular are at a loss as to what they can do to earn a living,” she said of the big flood literally washing away many small business set-ups.

For many, it is not just the monetary loss or loss of livelihood.

It is also about losing something they had toiled on for decades and this is something that cannot be measured.

For many, the road to recovery is long and challenging.

But still, the hope is there after surviving this big flood.

There is hope if we do not give up hope.

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