Malaysia floods: Villagers struggle with food, running water and electricity

The flood waters may have subsided, but life for villagers in Kampung Tanjung Kala in Kuala Krai, Kelantan, remains a struggle when all that is left is a trail of destruction.

Mr Zulkifli Hamdan said that 20 houses and the village mosque had been swept away or destroyed by the floods. Those still standing, he said, had no telephone connection, electricity or any other source of power.

"We have resorted to bathing in the river. Getting food and drinking water is a real problem," the 29-year-old general worker told The Star.

However, Mr Zulkifli, who lives with his 62-year-old mother, considers himself lucky that they managed to flee to higher ground when floods struck the village on Christmas Eve.

That same night, a one-year-old boy had been swept away by flood waters when his mother could not hold on to him, he said, adding that rescuers have yet to find the body.

The village, which is located beside a tributary of Sungai Kelantan, had never been flooded before, said Mr Zulkifli. Flood victims in the rural parts of Kelantan continue to be in need of essential items, especially food.

In Gua Musang, farmer Razak Ramli, who lives near Jalan Sungai Terah, said his home was destroyed by the flood.

"We have lost almost everything," he said.

In Kuala Krai town, Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) branch chairman Leong Hon Lim, 52, said an almost total breakdown of public services has made life more miserable for flood victims.

He said that although flood waters started to recede almost a week ago, the clean-up had not started and they were getting no help from local authorities.

Health hazard

Mr Leong said he feared the mud and rotting debris could pose a health hazard.

Mr Leong, who is helping man MCA's Crisis Response Squad (CRSM) centre from a kindergarten in town, said he was grateful for the supplies flowing in from donors. However, he said they still did not have running water.

Professor Dr Din Suhaimi Sidek, chairman of the non-governmental organisation Operational Centre of Flood Relief Assistance, said there was a shortage of supplies in many areas, including Dabong, Kok Pasir and Alor Pasir.

The organisation, which is a coalition of more than 20 non-governmental bodies, aims to provide supplies and medical assistance to areas without centralised flood relief centres.

"Victims at these isolated areas have trouble receiving supplies. When we are there, they won't wait for us to distribute the food.

"They will just make a grab (for) it," he said.

To make matters worse, Dr Din Suhaimi said their supply of dry food ran out three days ago.

"Right now, even the doctors are hungry," he said.

A CRSM team, led by former Kajang assemblyman Datin Paduka Low Lee Leng, also brought supplies to Kuala Krai in the early hours of the new year.

At least 21 people have died in the worst flooding in Malaysia in decades and more than 167,000 people have been forced to abandon their homes, AFP reported.

Roads have been washed away and bridges damaged, hampering the delivery of aid.

The region is regularly hit by flooding during the annual monsoon, between November and March, but this year's storms have been unusually powerful and the states of Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang states have been particularly hard hit.

This article was first published on January 03, 2015.
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