Due to the slow relief efforts after the floods last week, a group of Orang Asli villagers near Karak, Pahang are still living in tents at an oil palm plantation even though the water has subsided five days earlier.
To make matters worse, among the group of more than 10 displaced people, two are elderly folk with mobility problems and two are toddlers. Another round of storms or flooding could catch them in a precarious situation.
The Temuan folks’ village, located next to a durian orchard at Batu 19, Karak, was devastated in the flood. When Malaysiakini visited yesterday, all eight houses in the village were found to be damaged and unsuitable for occupation. In some cases, only the house’s four support pillars remained.
The orchard is located at the confluence Sungai Krau and Sungai Telemung and is also heavily damaged. Both sides of the riverbanks were covered with debris.
According to Alam Awai, 56, who works at the orchard, more than 50 villagers fled to high ground to escape rising waters on Saturday night.
“In more than 50 years, this is the worst flood I have ever seen. The water flowed like a rising tide; our house on the riverbank was completely surrounded by the flood and was spun around in the water like a ball.
“I initially wanted to walk upstream to take refuge in my sister's house. But the water level rose to her house within five minutes, so we can only keep running and seek refuge in an oil palm plantation.”
Alam Awai seeks refuge in an oil palm plantation
He likened the flood to a tsunami – even though the riverbed was deep, places as far as 100m away from the river were inundated.
“I think the water level is at least 70 feet (21 metres). I kept 100 chickens and the water swept them away without leaving a single feather... It was a terrible sight...