SEGAMAT: Pekan Air Panas is a quaint little town in Labis, famous for its Orang Asli settlements, mata kucing fruits and its water attractions – the hot springs and the Taka Melor waterfalls.
But there can be such a thing as too much water.
For over 70 years, the villagers here have been facing floods on a yearly basis as it is located between two rivers – Sungai Tenang and Sungai Juaseh.
During the monsoon season, both rivers overflow and the village is flooded.
Village chief Muhamad Haeri Ali Khan, 42, said people here are used to the floods now.
“Our village is in between two rivers. Sungai Tenang comes from the Taka Melur forest and Sungai Juaseh comes from the Juaseh dam. When it rains for long hours, our village will be inundated,” he said.
The villagers’ main concern, he said, is the aftermath of floods when water would remain stagnant for weeks.
“Our village is on a low-lying area, so it will always take time for the water to recede, meaning that it would also take more time for us to return home.
“So far, the villagers are not complaining as the authorities have made preparations to ensure they have all they need.”
Muhamad Haeri said that from Tuesday, 158 flood victims from the village had been evacuated to a temporary relief centre.
In Mersing, it is the sea that is causing the floods.
Air Puteri village chief Ahmad Firdaus Shaik Omar, 40, said the high tide caused the water level at the Sungai Mersing to rise, leading to floods in Sri Pantai and Air Papan.
“Most of the villagers are coastal fishermen, and some have lost their boats due to the strong current.
“We are still checking how many of them are affected so we can request for help from the state government,” he said.
Ahmad Firdaus added that there are about 200 families living near Sungai Mersing, and those that are living in high risk areas were evacuated at 6pm on Tuesday.
“The people have been warned to stay away from the public beaches due to the strong winds and high waves,” he said.
Meanwhile, Kota Tinggi district officer Datin Paduka Hazlina Jalil said only one area has been cut off due to floods at Kampung Teluk Hutan Lesung.
“We have asked the army to send in food supplies and other necessities to families now placed at a temporary flood relief centre at SK Teluk Hutan Lesung,” she said.
“There are 76 victims from 22 families at the centre.
“The Department of Irrigation and Drainage (DID) has issued a high tide warning for today so we will continue to be on the lookout and move those in high-risk areas to a safer place,” said Hazlina, who is also the district disaster management committee chairman.