Family devises plans and modifies home to protect themselves

PETALING JAYA: Like many others in Sabah, floods have been a burden to the Kotibens.

But this time around, the family of seven has a plan.

After seeing many treasured and sentimental items get damaged by the waters over the years, they have devised a way to ward off the wrath of nature.

“Naturally, my parents are in charge of dividing up the tasks and we will move in like clockwork,” said Jenny Kotiben.

The 27-year-old accounts executive has been in the thick of it at least 10 times in about 20 years.

Jenny and her brothers will work together to help their parents move items to higher ground at their double-storey house in Inanam, Sabah.

As soon as the rainy season begins, the family will look out for news on rising waters and check social media for any floods occurring nearby.

Deluge defences:The Kotiben family home with its newly elevated garage area, built to keep back floods that have hit in the past (left).
Flooded garage before the renovation   

Underwater: The Kotiben family home underwater during one of the flooding spells. (Before) They have since renovated the home by elevating the garage area and improving the drainage systems to make the house more resilient to waters.
Deluge defences:The Kotiben family home with its newly elevated garage area, built to keep back floods that have hit in the past.  

Before the situation worsens, her brothers, most of whom are married and have their families of their own, will be called back home to help lift household items to the top floor.

Those that cannot be moved will be stacked on higher levels.

Jenny said if the whole family was back in full force, they would be able to get the work done in about two hours.

“But if we are short-handed, we will try to get most items up even earlier,” said Jenny.

“There was a year when it was only my mother and youngest brother at home when the floods hit.

“But we still managed to move things up very quickly,” she said.

The family has also made some renovations to the home.

They have elevated the garage area and improving the surrounding drainage system to better prevent waters from entering.

Meanwhile, Felcra settler Mohd Rosmaini Abd Samat said he too renovated his home to add an attic to store items away from flood waters.

“We started moving some things in early November just as the north-eastern monsoon began.

“We’ll leave the bigger appliances like the refrigerator and washing machine until much later,” he said.

In his 10 years living at Felcra PPSK Gunung Menerong, Ajil, Terengganu, Mohd Rosmaini has experienced flooding three times.

“The worst was in 2014 and I even lost my pet doves in that flood,” said the 37-year-old father of four.

He said settlers in the area would help each other to bring items up to higher levels.

“After all that, we will just wait for the authorities’ instructions to evacuate our homes,” he said.

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Flood , plan , Sabah , Terengganu