BATU PAHAT: For many flood victims in Johor, it is “life as usual” at temporary relief centres.
They go to work in the morning and return to spend the night at the flood relief centres (PPS).
“I wake up at 9am for breakfast at the PPS and then head out to tend to the cows,” said cattle rearer Shaiful Amri Tumiran, 34.
He has spent almost a week at SMK Yong Peng which has been turned into a PPS.
Shaiful said he was reluctant to move there initially as he was worried about being crammed with others, as was the case during previous floods.
“However, it was nothing like I expected. We were all placed in tents which were separated. There were only four or five tents in each classroom,” he said.
Shaiful said contrary to what people thought, many at the PPS still went to work daily as usual.
The classrooms in the PPS would usually start to get quiet at about 10pm as the children prepared for bed, he said.
“Sometimes we turn off the lights earlier so that the kids will stop running around,” said the father of three.
Another flood victim at the same PPS, farmer Suhaimi Abu Bakar, 45, said while that there was no TV, the evacuees kept themselves occupied with their handphones and chatting with other families, adding that he was usually out for work during the day.
“However, there are daily activities for the children, like colouring classes,” he said.
Suhaimi said the toilets were fairly clean and enough for the 18 families placed in the school.
“Since it is a school, there are a lot of toilets. I never had to queue for my turn! We take it upon ourselves to keep the toilets clean,” he added.
Nor Aleeza Ahmad, 33, who sought shelter at the Dewan Semai Bakti Felda Maokil PPS in Muar, has an extra challenge to face as she just gave birth to her fourth child.
She said she had returned from hospital after her delivery when her house was flooded.
“I was still feeling weak when we moved to the PPS as it was barely two days since I gave birth.
“Going through confinement at the PPS is not easy as there is no access to hot water and there are only squatting toilets. It is comfortable enough for most people but for someone who is in my situation, it is definitely not suitable,” she lamented.
Aleeza, 33, said the evacuees were treated to at least three meals daily.
“Sometimes, we get more. At times, there was just too much food. But as I am going through confinement, I could not eat much.
“The Welfare Department officers did their best to accommodate my needs. They provided me with two mattresses so that I could be more comfortable,” she said.
A victim at the Kampung Muhibbah PPS in Muar, Alizan Mohd Amin, 36, said each family was provided with a mat, a tent and some pillows when they arrived at the shelter. “It is not as comfortable as our own beds at home but good enough to have a rest. For me, the best thing about staying in the PPS is being surrounded by neighbours and friends who share the same plight.
“It brings a strong sense of togetherness,” said the labourer.
Alizan said the only challenge was to find a plug point to charge his handphone as some sockets were not working.
“Thankfully, we brought extension cables and this allowed more people to charge their phones and use other electrical appliances,” he said.