Flooding in Kelantan puts a damper on Chinese New Year celebrations

Children walking along a flooded road in Kelantan, on Jan 21, 2017.
Children walking along a flooded road in Kelantan, on Jan 21, 2017.PHOTO: NSTP

KOTA BARU (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) -  Businesswoman Kuang Lena Yien stood rooted to the spot as flood waters started rising during a bout of heavy rain in Wakaf Baru in Kota Baru.

Within minutes, it gushed into her double-storey terrace house, ruining everything in its path.

The frightening experience on Friday (Jan 20) evening was still fresh in her mind when she spoke on Saturday.

"Almost everything on the lower floor is damaged. Luckily, I managed to drive my car to higher ground," she said. "It happened very fast. There was nothing we could do."

Ms Kuang, 46, said the incident has spoiled her mood to celebrate Chinese New Year.

She said her housing area was flood-prone and the residents were always prepared every monsoon season.

"But this year, the flood was exceptionally high," she lamented. "Now, it is cleaning time and we need to put our celebrations on hold,".

Heavy rain was still lashing the area on Sunday and Ms Kuang has prepared a rubber dinghy for her son, aged seven, as a safety precaution.

In Melur, Pasir Puteh, Ms Mandy Aw Siew Sin’s shophouse was inundated by floodwaters that reached 30cm.

"This has never happened before, as long as I can remember," said Ms Aw, who lives with her 65-year-old mother.

"During the major flood in 2014, the water was not even near this level."

Still visibly shaken, the mother of two girls said she would be spending the next week cleaning the house of mud and debris.

Ms Aw noted that such rainfall was the norm during the monsoon season.

"But this time it is crazy. My house is just 100m from the river. Never before has the water risen so fast and gushed in,” she said, adding that they waited more than 12 hours for the water to recede.

And there would be no celebrations during Chinese New Year, she added, as most of her furniture and electrical appliances were damaged.

The overcast skies suggest the rain is not about to go away any time soon.

As at 8pm on Saturday, more than 9,220 residents from Tumpat, Tanah Merah, Pasir Puteh, Pasir Mas, Machang, Bachok and Kota Baru have been evacuated.

They are being sheltered in 57 flood centres

The level of water in Sungai Golok in Rantau Panjang is 10.11m, over the 9m danger mark.