Residents feel anxious about dark clouds, rain and high tide

PETALING JAYA: From lighthearted jokes to prayer, Malaysians are using a variety of methods to help them cope with the trauma and anxiety caused by the massive floods.

Whenever Asfalili Kasim hears the sound of thunder, she gets anxious and if the rain starts falling, she won’t sleep.

The 42-year-old graphic designer said she needed to be on high alert so that if the waters were to rise again she would have time to save her family as well as her belongings.

Although it has been over two weeks, Asfalili still vividly remembers the horror of the rapidly rising floodwaters after continuous rain.

“It was so scary that the water just kept rising and rising,” she recalls.

She worries about her 96-year-old grandmother who lives with her.

“It was the first time that we experienced such a terrible flood. Although I work from home, I have to take care of my mother and my 71-year-old grandmother,” she said.

She is not alone. Many Malaysians have admitted feeling anxious whenever dark clouds appear.

When it starts to rain, their worries heighten, especially for those living in some of the hardest hit areas – Taman Sri Muda in Shah Alam and Kajang – where lives have been lost.

Asfalili has been cleaning her house since the flooding, which began on December 18, began to recede. However, she is not finished yet.

“There is still a lot of cleaning to be done. To not worry, I talk to my siblings, play jokes on them and also pray to God for the situation to get better,” she added.

Grocery store owner Tee Tze Wei, 42, said she gets nervous whenever a continuous downpour hits her living area in Pandamaran, Klang.

“I worry every time the sky gets dark. It’s been going on for two weeks,” she said.

“And we were told the tides would be high for the next few days.”

Tee said she was also worried about her elderly parents, aged 66 and 72, who lived with her.

“I’m worried about their safety,” she said, adding that her 49-year-old family business had been hit hard by the floods.

“A few weeks ago, floodwaters poured into my store so quickly that I couldn’t move my goods to higher ground.”

Tee said that in years past the water level was about 15cm high.

“This time, the water was more than 60 cm. It all happened so fast. Within 10 minutes my store was flooded,” she said, adding that she estimated her loss at around RM50,000.

Following the high tide warning, Tee takes extra precautions.

“We also placed our important items on higher ground.”

Asfalili and Tee aren’t the only ones preparing for flooding.

Annoyed by the constant flooding of their homes, a group of residents from Jalan Marikat Batu 9, Kampung Mawai in Kota Tinggi, Johor, took it upon themselves to build a 300m drainage system with their own money.

A resident, Nur Azizan Morshidi, 35, told Bernama that locals raised RM500 to hire an excavator to do the work last month.

She said the initiative worked.

“Flood water has not entered our houses. Previously, when it rained, the water level rose up to our calves,” she said.

Nur Azizan said cupboards and mattresses were damaged.

“We couldn’t salvage anything and that’s why we hired professionals to dig the drain,” she told the SK Mawai flood relief center yesterday.

A mother of one, Nur Azizan had been staying in the area for five years.

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