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
"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.