BALING: A senior citizen who was swept away by floodwaters that submerged several villages here managed to save herself by clinging on to a palm tree until a rescue team reached her.
Hasnah Ismail, 58, said as soon as she saw the water rising quickly, she and her husband decided to climb a rambutan tree near their house.
"When I saw the rambutan tree almost falling, my husband (Che Nai Isa, 59) and I tried to grab on to drifting logs, but he missed and was swept away.
"Fortunately, he managed to grab a bamboo pole while I managed to cling to a palm tree. We were in the water for about an hour before the rescue team found us at about 8pm,” she said at the temporary relief centre at SMK Jerai here on Monday (July 4) night.
Recounting the harrowing experience, Hasnah said she tried to scream for help but no one had heard her, and all she could do was wait until rescuers arrived.
"I thought I was going to die because I did not see anyone coming for us. I felt grateful as soon as I saw a rescue boat approaching.
"When we were in the water, drifting logs struck my back several times. Thank God, we are both not injured,” she added.
According to Hasnah, she has lived in Kampung Padang Empal since childhood and often experienced floods but described this one as the worst.
"Normally, if the water rises, it would only be ankle- or calf-deep. This is the first time that my house was submerged up to the roof.
"I could not save any of my possessions, including two motorcycles. About RM2,000 in cash from the sale of livestock was also washed away," she said.
Hasnah's daughter Nor Alia, 20, a person with disabilities, had been rescued earlier by a relative.
"He carried my child through the water which had risen to neck level. Alhamdulillah, both of them are safe,” she said.
Another flood victim, Siti Mariam Abdul Isa, 70, said her husband, who has been partially paralysed for the past nine years, was underwater briefly as he was sleeping on a mattress on the floor.
"We (my son and grandson) were busy moving our belongings to the higher ground and... upon realising (the level of the floodwater), we quickly took him upstairs,” she said.
Siti Hajar Said, 32, said she was sad as she could not save her belongings, or her pet cat and rabbit.
"The rain started at about 4pm and the water began to rise at 5pm. In less than 30 minutes, it reached roof level.
"All six houses located near the river were submerged,” she said. – Bernama