CAMERON HIGHLANDS - The sound of sirens, warning that water is being released from the dam into Sungai Bertam, is nothing unusual for villagers at Bertam Valley.
So, they continued to sleep when the siren went off before 1am on Wednesday.
"We were caught off-guard," said village head Wong Fook Chai.
Wong, like other villagers, heard the siren about 15 to 20 minutes before the floods devastated the village.
"How were we supposed to know? Usually the water release does not overflow the banks of the river," he said.
Wong was not sure whether over-development or farming upstream of the dam contributed to the floods.
"There are many vegetable farms upstream but I cannot be certain they are the cause," he said.
He himself felt that those responsible for the dam should be held accountable for releasing so much water.
He recalled that it rained non-stop from about 7pm on Tuesday before the flooding occurred.
"We never imagined the chaos that was to come," he said.