After three floods in a week, angry residents demand action

Kampung Permatang Rawa, Penang, was inundated after a thunderstorm this evening. (Bernama pic)

BUKIT MERTAJAM: Inter-monsoon thunderstorms are a time to be wary for people in the housing estates of Taman Sukun, Taman Sukun Indah and Taman Amra here. They say their homes are prone to flash floods, sometimes up to three times a week.

The most recent incident was on Saturday, when many of them were forced to move to a nearby temporary relief centre.

The residents say that the area was flooding because of poor drainage, and they have incurred losses from damage to property.

Flood victim Ramizah Razali, 37, said residents of the three areas have been victims of flash floods for the past seven years because of a lack of catchment areas nearby. Water flows into homes, especially in Lorong Sukun 2 and 3, after more than an hour’s rain.

She said since last week, her house had been hit by flash floods three times due to heavy rain for over two hours. Various items of household furniture and electrical appliances were damaged, with losses estimated at over RM8,000.

“Whenever it rains for more than an hour, we need to be prepared to move our things to a safer place as the water rises quickly and abruptly.

“I hope the authorities and the Penang state government can do something about the flash floods faced by residents here. Since last week our houses have been flooded thrice due to the monsoon transition rains,” she said at the relief centre at Taman Sukun Indah community hall here.

Another flood victim, Mohd Faizal Hamzah, 41, said flash floods kept occurring in their area as a result of too much development that had in turn affected the water catchment and irrigation systems.

“Since the end of last year, if it rained for more than half an hour water levels would rise. If it rained for more than an hour, it would flow into our houses. There is too much development going on. In front of my house, a block of shops is under construction. Before, water would flow in that direction, but since the land had been filled with soil, the water has nowhere to flow but into our houses, ” he said.

Roslina Ahmad, 39, said her family moved to the relief centre on Saturday although the flooding in her house was only ankle-deep, as it would be risky for her five children, aged between five and 15, to remain there.

“We have stayed here at the centre for three days. Yes, our house is not that bad but in our residential area, water had gone up to knee-level before. I am worried for my children’s safety which is why I chose to remain here,” she said.

80 hectares of padi fields damaged by inter-monsoon rain

Inter-monsoon rains have caused 80 hectares of recently-sown rice fields to be damaged, with 1,954 flood victims from 567 families relocated to five relief centres in five states as of 4pm today.

The devastation of a rice field in Kampung Matang Merbau, Bagan Serai, Perak, resulted in about 20 farmers in the area suffering losses, all of whom who are now hoping for government assistance for rice seedlings.

The National Disaster Management Agency said the number of flood victims in relief centres as of 4pm had dropped to 1,954 victims from 567 families compared to 1,974 victims from 559 families at 12pm.

The number of flood victims in Selangor and Perak increased slightly to 826 from 265 families and 501 from 122 families respectively, and in Johor to 482 from 118 families as of 8pm.

Executive councillor Tan Chen Choon said the victims were in nine temporary evacuation centres in Kluang district, Kulai, Batu Pahat, Pontian and Johor Bahru.