‘Pre-flood volunteers’ would be helpful, plead villagers

KOTA TINGGI: Instead of sending volunteers after floods hit, villagers in Kampung Sungai Telor say they need help now to prepare for the worst and protect their property.

This includes moving their furniture to higher ground.

Shop owner Maria Wahab, 32, said the government could send volunteers to flood hotspots to help villagers for worst-case scenarios.

“There are villagers like myself who are living with elderly parents – my father is also a disabled person, so moving things such as washing machine and refrigerator is an impossible task.

“I hope that the government can send out volunteer groups who could help the elderly or people with disabilities in rural areas better prepare themselves, not only by securing their important documents but also any household items,” she said when met at the village.

Maria said her house is right next to Sungai Johor and would usually be the first home to flood in a heavy rainfall.

Petty trader Aidah Saman, 58, said her house gets flooded even with just light rain.

She said the floodwater comes from Sungai Kepala Orang, a tributary of Sungai Johor, which is quite shallow and cannot contain huge volumes of water.

Aidah said her house was hit by a flood just three days ago, but it was only ankle-deep.

However, she said the floods in December last year and January this year were much worse.

She said she has already moved all of her important belongings to her daughter’s house at another village.

Kampung Sungai Telor village chief Abdul Ramli Abdul Rahman, 48, said that up to 200 people from three villages are usually affected when it floods.

“The floods would usually affect Kampung Seri Delima, Kampung Sungai Telor and Kampung Baru Sungai Telor.

“Only 200 of the 2,000 people living here are usually affected.

“In terms of preparations, we have opened up two temporary relief centres at SK Sungai Telor and Dewan Seri Delima, with ample partitioned tents and food supplies from the Welfare Department,” he added.

Abdul Ramli said it would be pointless to deepen Sungai Kepala Orang and Sungai Johor as the villages are located between these two rivers.

“The area is one of the lowest points in Kota Tinggi besides Kota Tinggi town, so when it rains, it will flood.

“It is not something new to us.

“We have made the necessary preparations to move villagers to a safer place, besides making sure their houses are protected,” he said.Kota Tinggi district officer Datin Paduka Hazlina Jalil said there are 65 flood hotspots in Kota Tinggi – 53 villages, 10 housing areas and two Felda settlements.

“We have been conducting a short-term flood mitigation approach regularly by cleaning and clearing up all the drainage systems with the help of the Irrigation and Drainage Department and the Public Works Department.”

In addition to the Southern Volunteers, Hazlina said 696 personnel from various government agencies have been placed on standby to assist in the relocation of flood victims.

“We are prepared to move people out in case rain falls for more than three hours,” she said, adding that the rescue agencies have been closely patrolling and monitoring the hotspots in Kota Tinggi.

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