One year on, Kampung Iboi water surge tragedy still fresh in mind

04 Jul 2023 01:27pm
Ahmad shows the original site of his house, which was swept away by the current in the water surge tragedy in Kampung Iboi last July.
Ahmad shows the original site of his house, which was swept away by the current in the water surge tragedy in Kampung Iboi last July.

BALING - Today (July 4) marks the first anniversary of the debris floods and water surge phenomenon that hit Kampung Iboi and its surrounding areas in Kupang here.

The tragedy that claimed three lives, including an expectant mother and caused destruction to many homes, has left an indelible mark in the memories of those affected.

A Bernama check at Kampung Iboi, located about 17 kilometres from Baling town, found the villagers living their lives as usual although the effects of the disaster are still visible, especially around the Sungai Kupang area.

The Bailey bridge, constructed to replace the old bridge that was washed away during the incident has become the main route for the residents of Kampung Iboi and Kampung Iboi Masjid to go about their daily lives.

For Abdul Rahman Said, 72, who lost his wife, Salmah Mat Akib (53), daughter-in-law, Nurul Anis Abu Hassan (23), who was four months pregnant, and his stepson, Khairul Ikhwan Nor Azman (14), the tragedy remains fresh in his mind.

"It is one year since the disaster, but whatever we do, we cannot get them back (the deceased family members).

"My late wife was a good person, so was my daughter-in-law who was like a daughter to me. I still remember the tragedy, but I accept Allah's qada and qadar (fate and destiny)," he told Bernama recently.

Abdul Rahman said every time he passed the Bailey bridge, he still looks at the place that was the site of his house and thinks about the family members he lost.

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"When I go to the mosque, I think... 'this is the road to get to my house', then I am overcome with sadness...

"It is the same (sadness) whenever I see the setting sun. Whenever I go to buy food in Kupang town to take home, I will think about my late wife and family members," he said.

Abdul Rahman said he married Salmah, a mother of four children, in 2018 after his first wife passed away due to cancer in 2013.

"All my stepchildren are close to me, but the youngest (Khairul Ikhwan) was the closest...I took care of him like my own child, because his biological father died when he was a child," he added.

Meanwhile, Kampung Iboi village head Nor Mohamad Che Husain said a year after the tragedy, the people in the village and the surrounding areas seem to have recovered and living life as usual.

"Due to the effects of the tragedy, in addition to the loss of lives, crops and livestock, the landscape here has also changed completely... many areas were badly destroyed (in the incident).

"But as a result of the efforts of local leaders here, the government, district officials, village headmen and all parties involved, the 12 houses that were destroyed have been replaced with new houses in Desa Kampung Keda Sadek," he said.

Meanwhile, Baling district officer Datuk Mohd Shahadan Abdullah said he hoped the tragedy would not recur in the village or other areas in the district.

"We are always monitoring because what is important is to ensure that the same tragedy does not recur. So far, there are no flash floods there.

"Last year, there were 12 incidents of flooding in the Kampung Iboi area, including the tragedy on July 4, but in many of those incidents, only a few times did the waters rose and entered the residents' houses," he told Bernama when contacted. - BERNAMA

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