Months on, flood victims wait in frustration for promised aid

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Source: The Malay Mail Online

Much of Manek Urai Lama remains in ruins today. Residents say of 86 homes deemed a total loss, only 20 owners had received aid. — Picture by Azinuddin Ghazali

Much of Manek Urai Lama remains in ruins today. Residents say of 86 homes deemed a total loss, only 20 owners had received aid. — Picture by Azinuddin Ghazali

KUALA KRAI, June 13 — The villagers of Manek Urai Lama are finding it difficult to obtain government aid to rebuild their homes.

Whether they have land grants or not, they claim you can only get aid if you know the “right people”.

Retiree Che Jah Che Deris, 69, who lives with her husband and two children, is one of those who have not received the aid.

A tent sits on their porch, in front of a temporary shelter made from a mix of plywood and rubble.

Asked if they had tried to fix their home themselves, Che Jah said: “How can we fix anything? We don’t even have a home to fix.”

Her son Saufih Che Man, 30, a rubber tapper, sat at the back trying to set up the wiring for lights they had just bought for the structure they now live in.

“We can’t wait for government aid in this condition, so we are using whatever money we have to plug holes the best we can. We are not close to any influential people who could help us,” he said.

Retired military officer Md Juri Md Nor, 43, who is helping his parents who live in the village, said of the 86 homes considered a total loss, only 20, including his parents’, had received aid to rebuild their homes.

His father, Md Nor Said, 87, said he had built the original home by hand. The house was washed away by the flood and he wondered why his neighbours were struggling to receive aid.

“I am sad the home I built is gone, and it is strange to watch other people build my home. But I can accept it because I don’t want to trouble my children by staying longer in their homes when they are flood victims too,” Md Nor said.

“I am thankful for the aid, but why are the others not receiving the care they need?”

Another aid recipient, civil servant Abdullah Manat, 59, admitted he received aid because he knew an influential person.

“It is true. You need to know the right people to get help. I have a good relationship with the people in the village, and I also know some people in important positions,” he said.

“Someone helped me get the aid to rebuild my home, and I know how hard it is for the others. I am trying my best to show the real condition of other villagers to whoever that can help so they can get aid too.”

Hardware business owner Mohamad Sabri Ibrahim, 48, said the other villagers had the perception he did not receive aid as his house was bigger compared to theirs.

Mohamad Sabri, who owns a double-storey house, with the ground floor turned into a store where he runs his business.

“People don’t understand the flood ruined not just my home but also almost my business. I cannot afford to fix my home,” he said.

He said he suffered RM75,000 in damages after the flood ripped away a large portion of the roof of his house, which remains uncovered.

With his business ruined, he performs odd jobs with his lorry.

“I am also fixing my home with what little supply I have.

“The floods took everything from me just like it did to everyone else here,” he said.

“I see other homes being rebuilt. How much longer must my family and I scoop water out of our living room every time it rains?”