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I was rudely awakened by screams and shouts. My alarm clock showed that it was only 3.00 a.m. What could have happened at this unearthly hour ? Could it be a break-in ? I realized that it was raining. Suddenly it dawned on me that our house could be flooded. How silly of me not to think of the flood. Luckily the water came up to only the car porch, but it shows how much the flood has affected us mentally. This is not the first time that our house, in fact, the whole housing estate of Taman Bahagia, has been flooded. We have been facing this nightmare every time there is a torrential downpour, since we moved in two years ago. The latest incident occurred about two months ago. After a three-hour downpour, the whole of Taman Bahagia was inundated to about 1.5 meters of water. We struggled to remove our belongings to the top floor. Father's car was so badly damaged that he had to spend more than $3,000 on repair. The amount of mud and slime took us a whole back-breaking day to clear. It has come to a point that every time there is rain, we are all kept on tenterhooks. Father especially has been having recurring nightmares.

"Why don't you shift out ?" a close friend once asked. We have been thinking about it a hundred times. However, it is easier said than done. Father has bought this house for nearly $100,000, partly from his life savings and partly from a bank loan. He spent another 10,000 on renovation and on some new furniture. We had all thought it was our dream-house when we moved in, until we had the first taste of a flash flood three months later. We became disillusioned when the second flood occurred just after we had spent two days cleaning up the mess caused by the flood. Father was so furious that he decided to dispose of the house, even at a loss. However, there were no takers for obvious reasons. Worse still, there was no response to our advertisements to let out the house. To add insult to injury, insurance agents gave us the cold shoulder when we wanted to insure our house. eventually we all agreed that the only option was to stay put, and seek the help of the authorities to solve the problem.

It has been two years now, and nothing concrete has been done yet by the authorities, except promises that the river nearby will be deepened. An action committee had been set up in Taman Bahagia. The committee had met a number of times. The members hope for a dialogue with the local town council so that they can work together to avoid another major flood. In fact, anxiety runs high again among the residents with the anticipation of the adverse effects of the approaching La Nina. Based on reports in the mass media, massive floods of greater intensity would deepen the nearby river without further delay. The Drainage and Irrigation department estate. Diversion channels will be built, including an internal drainage system with a retention pond. These will allow excess run-off to flow into the river without overloading the existing drains of Taman Bahagia. Meanwhile, it is hoped that the town council workers will keep the drains free of refuse regularly.

Despite the effort to solve the flood woes, the committee has been piqued by the residents for their apathy. They have in fact aggravated problems with their indiscriminate throwing of garbage which caused drains to clog. Old tyres, plastic bottles, tins and other refuse that are thrown into the river eventually find their way to the floodgate, negating its mitigating function. Incidentally, the floodgate has not been regularly manned and monitored. with built-up silt and garbage around the floodgate, the flood situation may even be worse.

The action committee together with the residents' association formed recently ahs come out with their own line of action in the event La Nina causes the river to spill over. they will take turns to keep vigil. Boats are on stand-by to rescue flood victims. individuals have stocked up bricks in their houses to protect their refrigerators and other electrical appliances from possible damage by flood waters. The residents have been advised to stock up sufficient essential food in the house. the long term plan of the committee is to have a permanent solution to the floods.

From paragraph 1 :
  1.

(a) What did the writer mean when he said that he was 'rudely awakened ...' ?

(b) Why did he regard himself as 'silly' ?

   

From paragraph 2 :

  2.

Explain why the writer and his family could not shift out.

    From paragraph 3 :
  3.

(a) What did the writer mean when he said, '... anxiety runs high again' ?

(b) Why do they have such anxiety ?

    From paragraph 4 :
  4.

Give one reason why the action committee has been piqued by the residents.

    From paragraph 4-5 :
  5.

(a) What danger is posed by build-up silt and garbage around the floodgate ?

(b) Give two examples of the 'line of action' taken by the action committee in overcoming the effects of La Nina.

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Answers
 

1.

(a) He meant that he was abruptly awakened from his sleep.

(b) He did not realize that there was a flood even though he knew it was raining heavily.

 

2.

The father had spent a fortune, about $100,000 on the house. There was also no response at all when the house was put up for sale or rent. The only option is to stay put.

 

3.

(a) It means the writer and his family became every worried again.

(b) It is because of the anticipated La Nina which may cause massive floods worst than before.

 

4.

While the committee members are trying to solve the flood woes, the residents have been throwing rubbish into the drains causing them to clog.

 

5.

(a) They may cause the flood situation to worsen.

(b) i. The residents take turns to keep vigil.

     ii. Boats are on stand-by to rescue flood victims.

 
 
 
 
 

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Comprehension 1

 

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