Sunday 4 January 2015

When The Flood Recedes, What Do We Do?

There is no further need to discuss about the extent of damages caused by the recent flooding at the East Coast. Kelantan is one of the affected states and also one of the worst affected. As I am writing, the extent of the damages is still being counted (I hope) by the authorities (plural emphasised!).

There is no doubt of the citizenship spirits being demonstrated by ordinary Malaysians in helping those affected. I am sure many people received donations, assistance and help from people who they do not know or even met in their lives before. The volunteer themselves distributed goods donated by those who remained faceless, using facilities e.g. helicopters and 4x4 vehicles that came from nowhere. The faces of the donors will remain faceless and won't appear on tv or even social media.

While there are still places and people where food and other needs are still required, there will be a stage where more serious thinking (I am not seeing that being demonstrated, perhaps because we cannot see what in people's mind) need to be demonstrated and executed.

The victims could be classified into several categories. Those who lost their houses, those with houses but lost everything else, those whose source of income disappeared and those who can't move on with their lives because those around them fall into the earlier categories. Each of them would require different kind of assistance and this is where data and information become important. Unfortunately, this task would have to be taken by people with authorities, no amount of volunteerism could make up any shortcoming of those with power.

I am not sure how much is being worked on the re-construction stage of this continuing episode. For those who lost everything, how would they re-start their  lives? Would they be building their homes at the same spot where their houses were built, at the low level areas which are flooded year-in and year-out? Could they be moved to higher grounds? Do they need to pay for the land? Wow, so many questions! I managed to ask one of them about when would they be rebuilding their homes. The answer was very simple, "We had been rebuilding our homes a number of times and they kept on being destroyed when it flooded. Each time we build, it would cost us RM 30,000 to RM 40,000. We had given up!".

Many of us would be able to recall the song Bangau Oh Bangau. It is about finding the cause of a thin stork, which the blame eventually fall on the snake. Honestly, I have not seen any Bangau in Kuala Krai or it's surrounding area but I also hope that this song is not going to be played and replayed as well.

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