Aida Zabidi
It’s been a couple of weeks since Kelantan was hit by unprecedented floods, leaving tens of thousands homeless and stranded. 

While many have criticized the government’s slow response to the floods, it is also important to remember the floods have been a yearly occurrence, and no one expected the degree of flooding to the extent that electricity and communications had been completely cut off, causing the news to trickle down at a very slow rate. 

“I went to get my grandmother, and managed to get her out to safety. I then turned back to retrieve other things, only to find that the house had been completely submerged.” 

Being in the health sector, it was equally horrifying to hear the accounts of hospitals which were cut off from power, and the struggles of the health staff trying to deal as generators started failing. 

“A generator has run out of diesel. The whole hospital is in darkness, and emergency lights are lit in some of the rooms. We intubated a baby in the dark, SpO2 dropped to 18, bradycardic – the anaesthetic specialist came himself to save the situation. ICU and CCU patients are breathing with battery operated machines. If the supplies don’t recover, we will take turns bagging manually… until when? 

We have been promised diesel for our generators which will arrive at 830pm, through helicopters. The problem is we are in pitch darkness, with no flares. We need lights to show them where we are. 

Kuala Krai has become a huge river, and our hospital one of the few islands that unfortunately doesn’t glow in the dark.” 

From the outside we heard accounts of helicopters airlifting the most critical patients, of the rescue team struggling to find a route to deliver diesel because of the strong currents surrounding the hospital. 

A friend’s mother working within the health ministry coordinating relief efforts recounted an incident of how they put a container of diesel on the boat, only to have the bottom fall right through due to the weight. Of how they had to take three boats to reach Kuala Krai due to the differences in currents and water levels, with areas where they had to go out and push the boat in darkness. Of TNB being unable to provide the bigger generators because they would not function with the water levels as they were and having to buy gensets. 

It was a crisis that gripped the nation, and the stories that poured it with were equally heartwrenching. Relief efforts eventually got underway, and the outpouring from the public was phenomenal. 

It was a time where Malaysians came together to reach out – from government agencies, to the support through NGOs and even private citizens who have come forward to donate items of need. 

Perhaps it is a reminder of what we can achieve when we work together.
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2 Responses
  1. Generally we are more lucky in Terengganu. Do you know where Terengganu is?

  2. @Al-Manar Actually I do, and a good friend was actually affected by the flooding in Kemaman as well. Hoping things have improved.

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