Taman Sri Nanding residents yearn for assistance

What’s left: Broken furniture and home appliances line the streets of Taman Sri Nanding.

I HAVE seen many reports before on natural disasters and their aftermath, at both the national and international levels.

But my visit to Taman Sri Nanding in Hulu Langat, Selangor, on Wednesday is the first time that I witnessed a natural disaster up close.

As I drove into the area, I saw what appeared like a muddy wasteland, dotted with puddles of brownish water.

Luckily, I had brought two pairs of rubber boots for myself and my photographer Samuel Ong before heading into the housing area.

Inside the housing scheme, the situation was devastating – it was as if the place had been upended and then turned upright again.

Everywhere I looked, there were heaps of broken furniture and home appliances while the residents bustled about with their clean-up.

I felt bad for having to interrupt them for an interview, but it turned out that they were very welcoming of media personnel.

“Thank you for coming. Please help to highlight our ordeal to the authorities,” said one makcik (auntie) before rushing off with a pail and a hoe.

After having spoken to several residents, it became clear what they really wanted from the government was some form of financial assistance.

And not just the one-off kind. They needed holistic assistance for loan payments and home repairs too.

Housewife and mother of two Rohana Latif, 54, was worried about the repair cost of the three motorcycles and a car that belonged to her family.

Wan Norliya Wan Abd Majid, 63, whose husband is a mechanic, questioned if they could afford to replace their home appliances that were damaged in the flood.

During my visit, the water had yet to completely subside – several homes were still partially submerged in ankle-deep muddy water.

The area was clearly not habitable yet, and residents dreaded the prospect of another downpour that could send more mud and debris into their homes.

Some people mourned the loss of their beloved pets.

As the floodwaters reached knee level on Saturday, a panic-stricken Salehuddin Osman, 57, placed his six cats in a cage on a perch above the window, before fleeing to higher ground.

He returned on Sunday afternoon to find his pets dead.

“I did not expect the water level to get so high. I had prayed that they would survive,” said a deflated Salehuddin.

As I drove out of the area on Wednesday afternoon, I was struggling to imagine how I would handle it if I were in the residents’ shoes.

As if two years of dealing with Covid-19 was not difficult enough, now another calamity has thrown a spanner in the works to our recovery.

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