HULU LANGAT: For single mother Asmawiah Ismail, it was not easy to ask her two schoolgoing children to wear rubber boots, commonly known as “Phua Chu Kang boots” to school, having lost most of their belongings in the recent floods.
Her house in Batu 18, Sungai Lui, Hulu Langat was submerged in floodwaters, which nearly reached the roof level two weeks ago. Her two children, aged 16 and eight, were left with nothing as their school uniforms, shoes, bags, and books were all destroyed in the floods.
She is all too aware that her children might be teased by their classmates or scolded by their teachers but feels she has no other choice.
“We are only left with the boots, and they can’t do anything if the teachers scold them. Even their uniforms are gone and they have to wear normal attire to school,” Asmawiah told FMT.
She said that the aid promised by education minister Radzi Jidin for school children affected by the floods was of no use, since it could only be collected in another town, Nanding. She added that she could not go there as her motorcycle and car were damaged in the floods.
“The road leading to the aid distribution center was also damaged by the floods.
“There is another road that leads to the centre, but it is hilly and would take a longer travelling time. How am I supposed to go and get the aid without my bike and car?” she said.
She added, however, that she will have to rely on her neighbours to take her children to school from Monday.
Asmawiah, who works as a religious school teacher, has three other children, including her eldest who is a final year student at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) in Bangi.
Asked about the RM1,000 cash aid each from the Selangor and federal government, she lamented how it was not enough to cover the costs of all that she had lost.
“I have received the RM2,000 in cash aid, but it’s too little to cover the damage and losses as the house was fully submerged in the floodwaters. I can buy food with that money, but not electrical appliances.
“It is going to take a long time for my family to restart our lives after the flood,” Asmawiah said.
Asmawiah also shared the horrifying experience of being separated from her three children and her nephew, when they were swept away by the current during the floods that hit Hulu Langat on Dec 18.
“They were looking for a safe place to take cover when the floodwaters reached the waist level at home and, fortunately, they managed to reach a tree. They climbed up and stayed there from 10pm until 7am the following morning,” she said.
Asmawiah was just happy to see all her children safe but was exasperated after taking her mother who is on a wheelchair, to the nearby surau for shelter.
“The floodwaters continued to rise inside and we had to arrange the tables right up to the attic of the surau. There were 40 people cramped in at the time.
“We tried to call the civil defence department (JPAM), but we were told that they were just mobilising their men to help the flood victims. But even after the floodwaters had subsided, no one came to help us,” she said.
Areas in Hulu Langat such as Batu 18, Sungai Lui, Taman Sri Nanding, and Kampung Jawa were among the worst hit by the floods, which left those affected with nothing as they could not save their belongings.
Those who wish to help Asmawiah can donate to her bank account, Asmawiah Ismail (162021007170 – Maybank).