News: Shut-eye a commodity hard to come by for Bertam Valley folk

The Star, 8 Nov 2014

CAMERON HIGHLANDS: For shopkeeper Ng Yoke Sun, sleep is a commodity hard to come by since the mud flood claimed much of Bertam Valley last year.

The 40-year-old shopkeeper jumps out of bed the moment she hears the rain, fearing the worst since experiencing the mudslide which took four lives then.

“I would wake up in the middle of the night when I hear the slightest sound on my roof. When it began to rain on Wednesday evening, my heart was pounding hard.

“I was afraid that another mud flood would cause serious damage to the goods at my shop,” she said in an interview yesterday.

Fortunately for her, her shop was not affected by the mudslide which hit Bertam Valley on Wednesday while the unusual heavy rainfall caused a flash flood at Ringlet, some 4km away.

The natural disasters have now claimed five lives, including a 13-year-old boy who was swept away by floodwaters along Sungai Terlom at Kuala Terla here.

The other bodies were discovered on Thursday and yesterday.

Many, like Ng, are still traumatised by last year’s incident.

Consultant Tho Wai Kuan said he, too, was feeling restless when he heard that it was raining in Cameron Highlands.

The 40-year-old, who works in Kuala Lumpur, was worried that his home would again be inundated by muddy waters.

“I came home on Thursday just to make sure my brother was all right. Whenever it rains, I check the me­­teorological websites to see how heavy the rainfall is,” he said.

“I was relieved when my brother and his family were okay and their home was not affected.”

A midwife, who only wanted to be known as Kang, said her children were traumatised by last year’s incident and screamed at the sight of water rising outside her home.

Her husband was among those killed last year and it has badly affected her children, aged 17 and 18.

“I returned here two months ago after completing a job in Singapore. After Wednesday’s incident, I just couldn’t leave my children and my (86-year-old) mother at home,” she said.

A resident in Ringlet, Zainuddin Mohd Nor, hoped the authorities would clamp down on the illegal land clearing and farming activities at the highlands.

“Ringlet is my hometown and I can’t live here in fear of flash floods and landslides every monsoon season. The Government should do something so the people here don’t have to suffer,” he said.