BALING: The dreadful memory of having three family members swept away by flood waters at Kampung Iboi, Kupang here a year ago is still fresh in Abdul Wahab Abdul Rahman’s mind.
The Baling floods on July 4 last year, which affected 41 areas in the district and claimed four lives, has changed the landscape of this previously quaint village.
The lifeless body of Wahab’s cousin, Salmah Mat Akib, had been found hugging her pregnant daughter-in-law, Nurul Anis Abu Hassan, while Salmah’s son Khairul Ikhwan Nor Azman was found dead among a pile of trees that had been carried away by floodwaters.
Seventeen households also lost their homes in the blink of an eye and the families were all left with little to survive on after the floods.
Wahab, 53, said the incident had traumatised villagers of Kampung Iboi, with the sight of overcast skies and darkened clouds triggering stark reminders of the 2022 floods which swept through the village without warning.
“We are afraid that this could happen again. When rain comes, we’re all ready to move to higher ground,” he said when met by FMT at the village.
Describing it as the worst natural disaster to hit the village in his 50 years living there, Wahab hoped that the relevant authorities would keep a close eye on logging at a nearby hill, which he believed was a key cause of the floods.
“We have no issues if anyone wants to implement projects, but they have to make sure they’ve studied the matter in terms of safety, so that we can avoid a repeat of the 2022 tragedy.”
Another villager, Ahmad Latif, said he had protested development projects at the said forest, but his objections went unheeded until disaster struck last year.
Having lost his home in the floods, Ahmad received a new home at Desa Keda Sadek several months ago.
Meanwhile, 48-year-old Mohamad Tahir said Kampung Iboi villagers still needed the government’s help to get back on their feet, especially in replanting crops that had been destroyed by the floods.
“I hope the relevant agencies would go to the ground here and give agriculture aid so we can sustain ourselves.”
After the devastating incident on July 4, 2022, Kampung Iboi had been hit by floods two more times last year, on July 28 and Sept 6.
The July 4, 2022 floods resulted in losses estimated at RM28 million, involving the destruction of houses, premises, infrastructure and vehicles.