Parents ‘MacGyver’ ways to keep school stuff dry

MUAR: A raft made out of empty barrels has helped a family affected by the floods to keep school items such as textbooks and uniforms safe and dry.

Housewife Marina Md Yakin, 41, said her husband made the raft when rain started to fall heavily and continuously last month.

“We often get hit by floods as our village is located near Sungai Muar.

“As such, we have been prepared. When the rainy season begins, we will build a raft from empty barrels and wood,” said Marina, 41, who lives in Kampung Jawa, Lenga here.

“Thanks to the raft, I am able to protect all of my children’s school materials. Those are among the first items we put on the raft as we know that we cannot afford to buy new books and school uniforms if we lose them in the floods,” she said.

Marina has four children – one in secondary school, two in primary school and the youngest in kindergarten.

“My eldest child, who is 14 years old, will continue her lessons online for the time being,” she added.

The other three children, who are aged between five and 12, will return to classes after the flood situation has improved as their school is being used as a temporary relief centre (PPS), said Marina, who is currently seeking shelter at a PPS in Kampung Jawa.

Another flood victim from the same village, Safiqah Johari, said that she was relieved that none of her siblings’ books and newly bought uniforms were damaged.

“It would cost us a fortune to buy all those books, clothes and shoes again as I have four siblings who are still in school.

“We are among the lucky ones. Although the area around our house was flooded, the house itself was not inundated as it is on higher ground,” said Safiqah, 28.

However, she said they still had to use a sampan to get around until the water receded.

Farmer Suhaimi Abu Bakar, whose house in Yong Peng, Batu Pahat, was flooded, said all his children’s books were fortunately not damaged at all.

“Some of the school uniforms and shoes got wet. We would have to spend more money to buy new ones.

“It is hard to have to think about preparing the kids for school at times like this, since we are still in the PPS,” said the father of four.

On Saturday, Johor education, information, heritage and culture committee chairman Mazlan Bujang said that 36 flood-affected schools in Johor would remain closed until further notice.

He said 28 schools – five secondary and 23 primary schools – are being used as PPS.

The other eight schools have yet to recover from being flooded, he said.

“These schools will remain closed temporarily until the flood situation in their areas have recovered,” he said.

Student management assistant Nurul Aisha Mohd Yusoff, 35, said she has been busy preparing for her nine-year-old daughter’s return to school in Johor Baru.

“My daughter was supposed to go back to school two months ago but I opted for her to stay at home temporarily as I was worried about the high number of Covid-19 cases.

“The cost of sending kids to school has increased significantly these days.

“For example, school shoes cost about RM30 to RM50 previously but have now gone up to about RM80,” she said.

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