Tense nights in flood-prone village

SETIU - Some 100 families in flood-prone Kampung Kasar here, about 100km from Kuala Terengganu, are living in fear.

Although it has been almost a year since the village was hit by one of the country's worst ever floods, the memory is still fresh in their minds.

With lashing rain expected any time now - even today, according to the Meteorological Department - many are having sleepless nights.

A three-hour rainfall would result in floodwaters rising up to three feet - enough to trigger an evacuation.

Kampung Kasar is very close to two main rivers - Sungai Kasar and Sungai Langkap.

During last year's floods, the entire village was nearly submerged and the villagers together with 500 families in surrounding areas were evacuated to higher ground.

Maliah Merah, 57, said "my fear is real".

"Our village was badly affected but we were among the last to be rescued. During every monsoon, all of us here can't sleep well," said the single mother of three.

She said her worst experience was in 2006, when floodwaters rose up to almost six metres in the wee hours.

The incident has taught her one thing - to lead a simple lifestyle.

Her house has just one bed and cooking utensils.

Petty trader Rokiah Adam, 54, and pre-school assistant Zarinah Ismail, 42, also related their fears.

"The undercurrents are very strong. It's like you are in the middle of an ocean," Rokiah said.

Zarinah hoped that this year, important notification on evacuation and other flood-related information would reach them earlier.

Both victims urged the authorities to give more priority to their village and other low-lying areas during the rescue mission.

A check at the village saw many locals busy placing their essential items on racks. Vehicles were also parked on higher ground as a precautionary measure.