Fleeing the rivers of mud

Fleeing the rivers of mud
An aerial view of the flooded road in the village Banggol Nering that leads to the still flooded town of Kusial Baru.

As the flood waters rushed in last Monday, he was not thinking of his favourite football or any money he had put aside.

Instead, 15-year-old Muhammad Azrul Arif had only one thing in mind to save: The educational certificates he and his siblings had earned over the years.

Azrul, who lives in the village of Banggol Nering in flood-ravaged Kelantan, said: "I figured that the certificates would be important for me if I want to enrol in a university in the future."

The youngster scrambled to retrieve the certificates before he and his elder brother were evacuated by a boat belonging to another villager. They went to his grandmother's house in a nearby village on higher ground.

The student and his uncle had rushed back to his house from Terengganu.

During the school holidays, which end tomorrow, Azrul was working part-time, helping his uncle sell food at a steamboat restaurant in University Technology MARA in Terengganu.

He said the sight of his house engulfed by flood waters shocked him.

"It was very scary, it is the first time that I have seen the waters rise so high," he said.

"My older brother and I first made our way to our grandmother's house, which is located on a hill,

"But when that too was engulfed by the floods, we had to evacuate to a tent which was set up further away in the forest."

In what is considered the worst floods to hit Malaysia in 30 years, large areas in the states of Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang have been inundated by flood waters.

The disaster has claimed 21 lives so far and has left thousands homeless.

Figures provided by Malaysia's Ministry of Communication and Multimedia reported that as of yesterday, a total of 44,081 people were still living in relief centres in Kelantan.

It was in one of those relief centres that Azrul's mother found herself.

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